Scotland on course to become digital health world leader

£3 million invested in Scottish digital health technologies…                  

The Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI) says it has facilitated investment of more than £3 million in Scottish digital health technologies which could lead to an industry worth £400 million by 2020.
According to the Edinburgh-based innovation centre, it could position Scotland as a world leader in digital health and care.
The DHI, which is celebrating its second anniversary after being set up in October 2013 by the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow School of Art and NHS24 as part of Scotland’s network of innovation centres, says it has awarded more than £1.1 million for approved projects to fund academic research and explore the use of new technology to improve Scotland’s health and care.
It has also facilitated contributions in time, resource, product and licensing costs from public and private sector organisations to the value of £1.9 million – culminating in a total project portfolio worth in excess of £3 million.
The DHI is one of eight innovation centres in Scotland and was set up to connect individuals and organisations in the health and social care, charity, technology, design and academic sectors to develop new ideas for digital health and care products and services that will meet current and future demographic challenges and improve the delivery of health and care services for Scotland’s communities.
It’s currently supporting 85 live projects involving 150 partners and 5,000 patients and health care professionals.
These projects include AliveCor, a mobile ECG device which connects to smartphones and helps patients and health care professionals track heart rate activity and identify individuals at risk of stroke; Moletest, an iphone app which can detect benign or suspect skin lesions; and Falls Smart Insole, an insole device that can track and analyse a patient’s walking patterns and mobility to help prevent falls and improve physical activity.
A year into operation, the DHI brought its first product into its evaluation processes to validate it for commercialisation.  ‘mylittleone’, a unique product that allows parents of premature babies to be connected to their newborn baby via a secure webcam service while in an intensive care baby unit to improve bonding, reduce separation anxiety and potentially postnatal anxiety and postnatal depression.
DHI has recently been accepted as a member of the Global Consortium for Digital Medicine, which means DHI projects will have access to international markets to evaluate and validate digital health and care products and services. It also opens up opportunities for international digital health and care companies to work in Scotland and benefit from the expertise here and access our unique test bed facilities to develop new products and services.
Justene Ewing, chief executive at DHI, said: “Our first two years of operation have been hugely successful, with above target projects currently being developed and tested and we have ambitious plans for the future, including the development of a purpose-built simulation facility to allow projects to be quickly prototyped and tested in realistic environments such as GP surgeries, hospital wards, pharmacies, care settings, back office support and patient homes.
“Scotland has the digital infrastructure, capability, expertise and innovative spirit to become an international centre of excellence in the growing field of digital health and care.  Our role is to encourage and facilitate the innovation process with a range of partners to transform how care is delivered.
“Our primary goal is significant economic growth for Scotland through the development of new products and services that have commercial value for local and international markets and our recent agreement with the Global Consortium for Digital Medicine will help boost our efforts in this respect.  It will mean new products and services available to the people of Scotland first, increased jobs and more investment for Scottish businesses.”
Next week, DHI will compete for the Market Gravity Innovation Award at the 2015 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, held on 10 November at Park Lane’s Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
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