24th April, 2020

People who are particularly vulnerable or isolated as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak could soon benefit from a range of innovative digital solutions selected as part of the TechForce19 challenge.

NHSx and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have today announced 18 digital solutions that have been awarded funding under the TechForce19 challenge. TechForce19 has awarded up to £25,000 each to innovation that offers a digital way to support vulnerable people who need to stay at home or need other help in the community for extended periods of time. The response to the challenge was extremely strong, with over 1,600 innovations submitted.

Sara Nelson, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, commenting on the TechForce19 announcement said: “Due to COVID-19 the NHS is having to rapidly change the way it delivers many of its services whilst maintaining safety. TechForce19 is a fantastic, dynamic programme from NHSx that was set up to ensure safe, effective technology could help and support vulnerable and elderly people, and those self-isolating during this pandemic. By quickly and robustly selecting some of the most innovative digital health technologies, several of whom are current or previous DigitalHealth.London Accelerator companies, patients can receive the best possible care remotely.”

The successful solutions will now receive funding to rapidly test their product to meet specific COVID-19 related needs. This testing phase will last for two to three weeks, and be followed by an assessment to better understand the potential and scope for accelerated deployment at scale, based on evidence.

NHSx has been working with partners PUBLIC and the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN Network) to run the fast-track competition for innovators, creating a pool of technologies that have the potential to be rapidly scaled regionally and nationally.

Iain O’Neil, NHSx director of digital transformation said: “The TechForce19 challenge has harnessed some of the incredible talent we have in our tech sector, to help the most vulnerable and many of the problems created by isolation lend themselves to digital solutions – we hope this process will help people take advantage of the potential that digital technology offers.

“The 18 companies we are announcing today have the potential to help a number of the key affected groups during Covid-19, including young parents, the elderly at home, and the homeless, as well as giving people tools to look after their own mental health during isolation.”

The 18 successful TechForce19 challenge digital innovations are:

Guy Boersma, Digital & AI Lead, AHSN Network, said: “This list of solutions is testament to the talent being harnessed to address the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis. The health and care sector has already seen many solutions being deployed to support vulnerable citizens with mental health needs or other specific conditions, and the pandemic makes it even more necessary that we address the needs of citizens unable to access face-to-face care or even their usual social networks.

“We are delighted that we have a series of solutions which can be piloted and then scaled to address these pressing needs.”

Each prospective technology must have the capability to operate on a standalone basis without the need to be integrated with existing health or care systems. 

For more information visit: https://www.ahsninnovationexchange.co.uk/news/ahsn/national/2020/18-winners-techforce19-challenge-announced-digital-solutions-supporting