Congenica claims top award at NHS innovation competition

A leading NHS innovation hub has announced the winners of its Innovation Awards 2016.

Based near Cambridge, Health Enterprise East works with NHS organisations and global medtech firms to help bring innovations to market.

The Innovation Awards aim to highlight innovative ideas that address unmet needs in the NHS and improve patient services, all developed by members of staff across the region.

This means many of the innovations are based on solving very practical problems experienced in the delivery of healthcare, which are often either overlooked or not otherwise attractive to commercial enterprises.

However this year saw the introduction of a new category for industry representatives – the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Innovation award.

Categories and their winners were as follows:

  • Medical Technology – Peter Hoskin and team, East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust: Fixation template device for the delivery of high dose radiation (brachytherapy) in prostate cancer treatment.
  • Patient Safety – Dr Latha Thangaraj and team, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust: Living in comfort, cherishing life – A project that has dramatically improved outcomes for elderly patients following hip fracture surgery.
  • Software/ICT/Assistive Technology – Harikrishna Doshi and team, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: Lung donor offers – An app that automatically matches organ donors to an ideal recipient from a pool of potential candidates without the need for manual selection.
  • Service Improvement – Philippa Taitt and team, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: A project that has increased efficiency and improved patient satisfaction by influencing ‘Did Not Attends’ (DNAs) in a busy radiology department.
  • SME Innovation – Andrea Haworth & team at Congenica Ltd: A genome analytics platform for rapid and accurate genomic interpretation and diagnosis of genetic disorders.

Of particular interest was Congenica Ltd‘s claiming of the SME Innovation award. The UK-based company was founded on pioneering research technology from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, NHS clicians and regional genetic testing laboratories and has since developed the gold standard of clinical genomic analytics Sapientia.

Sapientia allows for the analysis of genomic data to produce a personalised, actionable report for clinicians to improve their patients’ treatment and care. The technology is currently used by a range of different clients across the UK, including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Genomics England as well as biopharma company UCB.

Dr Anne Blackwood, chief executive at HEE commented on the awards: “In this, our tenth NHS Innovation Competition, we continue to recognise the very best ideas in health and care innovation from across the region. More so than ever, the NHS needs bright ideas to help address healthcare challenges and improve patient services.

Each winning team received £2,500 to further develop their idea, and Dr Blackwood said the HEE would continue to work with each of the winners to support and promote their work.

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