Janssen to help spread NHS innovation in diabetes


The latest NHS Innovation Challenge is focusing heavily on diabetes, with two £100,000 prizes out of a total of £650,000 in funding earmarked for promising projects in this area.

The two diabetes challenges are both sponsored by Janssen, with other prizes also being offered for projects in infection control, the use of technology in healthcare, patient rehabilitation and digital patient and clinician engagement.

The first diabetes challenges focuses on innovations that enhance the quality of life for people with diabetes through care centred around the needs of individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, while the second will be for care models tailored for the black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, in which the prevalence of diabetes is up to six-time higher than the UK's white population.

In addition to the prize money, Janssen will also provide mentoring to the winning teams to "drive [the] spread and adoption of their innovation."

Janssen's managing director for the UK and Ireland, Mark Hicken, said the company supports the initiative in order "to help inspire and seed innovation, empower healthcare consumers and modernise healthcare delivery to provide better, more holistic care at a lower cost to society."

This is the fourth year that the challenge has been run, with prior winners including an improved way to detect liver cancer in the community, which could save around £75m if rolled out nationally, as well as a cycle response unit run by paramedics in London that could save £1.5m a year and a web-based screening service for carpal tunnel syndrome that could trim costs by £4m.

The closing date for applications is 7 November and winners will be announced at an award ceremony in February 2015.

Janssen also provided funding for the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Dementia, with three recipients including Staffordshire integrated dementia service Memory First (£80,000), the Greenwich Advanced Dementia Service (£35,000) and Early Intervention Dementia Service in Worcestershire (£35,000) announced in April.

Launching the challenge at an event at the Queen's Nursing Institute conference in London, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: "We need to find new ways of working if our health service is going to be fit to face the challenges ahead and we know that those ideas come from the brilliant people working in frontline caring and research roles."

The NHS has "a strong track record in developing and using new medical technologies to revolutionise the way we care for and treat patients - diagnostic ultrasound, the MRI scan, the ophthalmoscope used to examine our eyes - to name but a few," he added.

In addition to the diabetes challenges, 3M is providing £50,000 in funding for the infection control challenge, while NHS England and Accenture are stumping up £100,000 and consultancy support for technology that can improve diagnosis or care of patients and prevent them dying prematurely.

NHS England is also providing a pair of £75,000 awards for rehabilitation innovations that enable people to recover from ill health or injury and helps them to remain in or get back to work - with mentoring provided to the winners by Allied Health Professions Federation - and a £100,000 prize for the use of information, communications or diagnostic technologies to connect patients and clinicians. The winner in the latter category will get mentoring and support from digital services firm Health Fabric.

"We need to find new ways of working if the NHS is going to be fit to face the challenges ahead and we know that those ideas need to come from the people delivering care on a daily basis," said Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director for NHS England.

Andrew McConaghie

6 October, 2014