Accelerating Health Innovation with Dotforge

Emma Cheshire, CEO of Dotforge explains how working with Yorkshire & Humber Academic Emma-Cheshire-featured-imageHealth Science Network (AHSN) is building links between innovative new businesses and the NHS to improve services for patients.

Starting a new company is usually a leap of faith and can be daunting for many people. At Dotforge we are lucky to work with individuals who start their companies or come up with products because they are highly motivated to solve social or environmental problems. For many of these “entrepreneurs” they did not set out to run a company but solve a problem they were passionate about.

Later this month at the Yorkshire & Humber Digital Health & Wellbeing Ecosystem, we will be showcasing seven companies that have been supported through our recent accelerator Dotforge Health + Data. This was created to work with start-ups and teams building healthcare products and services and provide intensive, bespoke support to accelerate growth and ensure solutions match unmet needs identified by Yorkshire & Humber health and social care organisations.

With so much current activity in healthcare innovation, our team wanted to focus the accelerator to support developing products that responded to challenges faced by our regional healthcare systems so we worked closely with the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN team and Clinical Commissioning Group advisors to understand local priorities.

All of the accelerator partners were involved in selecting companies to participate in the programme in order to draw on a range of experiences from the specialist health investment team at Mercia, the practical knowledge of EMIS Health of both primary and secondary care technical environments, and the issues of innovation adoption cycles understood by both the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and Creative England.

The companies participating have competed through an international application process to access the accelerator and over three months are receiving guidance ranging from the complexity of patient record provision and interoperability in primary care and an overview of the structures and commissioning routes in health care in the UK to how to work with patients and clinicians in developing, testing and trialling products.

During their time on the accelerator they are also gaining knowledge about the various regulatory and information governance requirements for developing software applications in health and working with health data and understanding the viable business models for each product.

Yorkshire & Humber AHSN has provided guidance regarding evaluation and identification of clinical or other relevant professionals to feed into the product development; EMIS Health opened up its partnership programme for the start-ups, running workshops and 1-2-1s on how each product could work with their platforms with mentoring from key people across the EMIS Health team and revising of the products by their clinical lead and Mercia Technologies has delivered workshops on working with private equity funds with the core team sharing their own stories of starting digital health companies. All the Dotforge Health + Data Accelerator partners have brought connections, experience and opportunities to the companies on the programme and, equally importantly, have mentored and provided constructive feedback and advice.

There’s still time to register to attend the Yorkshire & Humber Digital Health & Wellbeing Ecosystem and meet with the Dotforge Health & Data Accelerator companies – click here to register.

More information on the seven startups can be found here