About the Accelerator

What is DigitalHealth.London?

DigitalHealth.London is a partnership, expert in accelerating the adoption of digital innovation by linking health and care organisations with digital health innovators for the benefit of patients and populations. It accelerates the adoption of digital innovations across health and care to improve patient and population outcomes and experience, and supports a sustainable future NHS. DigitalHealth.London, first proposed by the London Health Commission report by Lord Darzi in 2014, launched in February 2016.

What is the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme?

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a new accelerator programme for digital health businesses that would benefit from better engagement with the NHS and the wider health sector, in order to refine and develop products and services that meet the needs of the system.

The year-long programme will provide support to 30 small and medium sized businesses. The support, tailored to the business’s specific needs, focuses on engagement with clinicians and healthcare experts, refining of products to meet needs, deepening understanding of the health system, showcasing in health facilities and developing business models in order to progress product development and access to the market.

Who is involved?

The Accelerator is run by a consortium of founding partners comprising of London’s three AHSNs (Health Innovation Network, UCLPartners and Imperial College Health Partners), CW+, MedCity and benefits from strategic support delivered by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, NHS England, the Greater London Authority, Digital Catapult and Silicon Valley Bank. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The partners believe in the enormous potential for digital health innovations to make a positive impact on health and social care – both in improving outcomes and experience for patients, and in working towards a more sustainable and economically efficient healthcare system for all involved. Many of the ideas and innovations that can have the greatest impact here are those coming from the business community.

What is the purpose of the programme?

The Accelerator aims to find and support the highest potential digital health start-ups and businesses, and support them to work with the NHS and the wider healthcare sector in developing and deploying their products as solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing health and social care.

The programme connects innovative businesses with tailored expertise according to their respective needs. Our network of partners reaches every NHS trust across London, (and many non NHS healthcare providers, commissioners and purchasers too). We are also able to draw upon the support of experts in the digital innovation sector and business support expertise. Together we bring expertise from all necessary sectors required to support innovators in navigating the, often complex, world of healthcare.

The cohort length has been designed in order to accommodate the lead times required to access clinical expertise from most NHS organisations.

What if I am involved in another accelerator programme?

This programme has been specifically designed not to compete with other accelerator programmes in London. You may wish to participate in DigitalHealth.London Accelerator in parallel to another, or after already completing an alternative programme, but this is not a requirement.

Will the Accelerator provide finance for my business?

The driving force for this partnership is to see companies make a difference to health and social care whilst driving forwards economic growth. The purpose of the programme is not to provide finance to the businesses as there are many and varied sources available to businesses. However, for interested companies, the Accelerator will introduce participants to potential sources of finance as part of the programme.

The programme does not seek equity in participating companies.

Will this programme provide me with free office space?

As part of the programme there are opportunities to be located in NHS / healthcare sites for specific events (e.g. a demonstration, workshop or joint working) and to enable close working with clinicians.

We also have preferential access to a number of incubators, workspaces and hot-desking facilities through our partners.

What stage of development does my business need to be?

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme supports businesses that will benefit most from the engagement with the NHS. This means that they will most likely have a product in later stage development, which will benefit from refining and testing through engagement with expertise in the NHS to maximise success on launch.

Whilst we are keen to hear about innovations from businesses in the early stages of development, please ensure your application form can demonstrate the product and the key developments needed to bring it to market.

Do I need to be a company to join the Accelerator Programme?

Businesses do need to be registered with Company House in order to join the Accelerator Programme, unfortunately we cannot accept sole-traders.

How does the accelerator help businesses to test their solutions with the NHS?

The Accelerator provides support in a number of different ways. We employ a team of NHS Navigators, who build connections and develop relationships between the SMEs on the programme and healthcare organisations.

There are ‘Meet the Expert’ sessions and opportunities to showcase and discuss products in NHS and with other healthcare organisations.

Working with their Navigator, participants also have access to innovation vouchers, which will assist with bespoke support from clinicians, managers and other NHS staff.

Does my company need to be based in London?

The Accelerator has been designed to support UK registered businesses in their engagement with London research and healthcare organisations. Applicants are asked to demonstrate their commitment to London and ability to build these relationships.

What size of company is eligible for the Accelerator?

Companies must meet the EU small to medium sized business eligibility requirements.

You can download a comprehensive definition of an SME from the European Commission here.

Will the Accelerator support specific products from my business?

The accelerator supports applications from business entities as opposed to specific products. The support provided is bespoke to companies according to their respective needs and we work with participants to decide the best format for this.

Does the accelerator provide IT or information governance support from HSCIC or similar bodies?

The Accelerator Programme provides expert advice and training from experts in areas such as IT, IG and Procurement and receives input from national bodies. However, companies will be expected to develop their own views on any advice or opinions received, and they are not able to place any formal legal or commercial reliance on it.

How much time would a business be expected to commit to accelerator related activities – are there mandatory elements?

Our aim is to provide appropriate support to participating companies according to their respective need, so the programme is designed to be flexible, with many sections not mandatory. One business may find it helpful to attend an expert session on information governance whilst another may not, or perhaps a new member of a leadership team may wish to attend, even if the founders are well versed.

There will be a number of mandatory elements to the program, such as the launch and program closing events, but these dates will be published well in advance.

What will the contractual arrangements with participants look like?

We will publish the SME agreement shortly.