“HIP really gave our fledgling business the kick-start it needed to turn it into a successful, scalable operation. Had the West of England AHSN not offered this training programme, I would have found it impossible to build a convincing business case for my speech therapy app for potential health commissioners.”
Jenny Dance, language school owner and developer of the Intelligent Sounds app (HIP graduate, 2015, West of England)

appsThe Health Innovation Programme (HIP) has to date supported 155 healthcare entrepreneurs in Southern England to develop businesses that improve patient care, generate savings for the NHS, create jobs and economic growth.

HIP is a unique personal development training programme helping healthcare entrepreneurs navigate what can be a very complex NHS business landscape. The programme was developed as a collaboration between four AHSNs (West of England, Kent Surrey & Sussex, Wessex and South West) and the global no. 1 university business incubator, SETsquared.

Innovations that have benefitted from HIP so far include a pain self-management app, radiology image management, a speech therapy app, medical dictation software, and ‘how to’ videos for people with learning disabilities.

Many of the innovators to have been supported by HIP are at the very start of their companies’ journey and so are still developing. Others, including those who started in the first 2015 cohort, have gone on to join the National Innovation Accelerator, and may be able to benefit from the recently announced Innovation and Technology Tariff.

Challenge / problem identified

Most start-up businesses fail within two years. Often this is due to poor business planning, misunderstanding the market, or failing to clearly identify and express the value proposition to investors or customers.

Add to that the complexity of the NHS as a market-place and the high-hurdles that need to be cleared for regulatory approval, and the NHS becomes a particularly difficult market to succeed in.

At the same time, the NHS will not meet its financial or capacity challenges by relying on innovation from within. Many other sectors such as shopping, holidays, insurance and journalism have benefited from adapting new technologies and new ways of working, and innovation is inevitable in the healthcare sector.

The Health Innovation Programme (HIP) aims to bridge this gap, by ensuring healthcare innovators start on the right track, understand their market place and can therefore successfully bring their innovations to market faster for the benefit of patients.

Actions taken
  • An intensive four-day personal development course, the Health Innovation Programme (HIP) targets people with innovative business propositions with genuine potential for health and care.
  • The programme has run every year since 2015.
  • While covering core skills in entrepreneurship, HIP also provides delegates the opportunity to make a compelling pitch to an experienced panel and to network with like-minded innovators, and the chance to get continuing support from their local AHSN to further develop their proposition.
Impacts / outcomes

The West of England AHSN and Wessex AHSN are now working in partnership with SETsquared to deliver the Health Innovation Programme (HIP) locally.

The programme is a great example of how we can work together to take advantage of centres of excellence such as SETsquared.

So far, HIP has provided business support to 155 healthcare entrepreneurs, helping them move their propositions forward, launch new products, secure investments and widen business networks.

New products and services
HIP graduates have been supported in the development of a number of new healthcare products and services. These include:

  • getUBetter –pain self-management appunspecifiedCarey McClellan from getUBetter is a graduate from the Healthcare Innovation Programme and is now marketing their self-management apps for lower back pain. Their solution is designed to support patients, clinicians and healthcare providers. Individual sales of the apps are strong. They are rolling out the apps out to a large GP practice in Bristol and are close to securing their first NHS contract in London. Visit the getUbetter website for more information or watch this video.
  • Intelligent Sounds
    Jenny Dance, a language school owner from Bristol, has been successful in progressing her Intelligent Sounds speech therapy app thanks to HIP. The app can be used to support people with a range of conditions that can impact the clarity of speech, such as post-stroke dysarthria, speech difficulties resulting from Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis or traumatic brain injury. Watch the video here.
  • EasyVideo
    EasyVideo enables users to scan any item around the home with a smart device and it plays a video of how to use it. For example, scan the kettle with an iPad and it plays a ‘how to make a cup of coffee’ video. Will Britton, founder and CEO of EasyVideo, has 300 paying customers and is launching a county-wide trial with in the coming year. Learn more here.
  • MyMHealth
    MyMHealth attended one of the first HIP courses in Wessex back in 2015. The company has already made significant steps towards success with MyCOPD. Since attending the course, MyMHealth has gone on to launch several new products, including MyAsthma and MyDiabetes. They have joined the National Innovation Accelerator, and are poised to benefit from the Innovation and Technology Tariff, which will see their MyCOPD product nationally funded by NHS England.
Plans for the future

The West of England AHSN and Wessex AHSN will be delivering six HIP programmes over the next two years as part of the Swindon and Wiltshire Health and Life Science Innovation Hub, a European Regional Development Funded programme to support development of innovative healthcare solutions.

Which national clinical or policy priorities does this example address?
  • Care and Quality
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Driving Economic Growth.
Start and end dates

Ongoing – started 2015.

Contact for help and advice

Kate Phillips, Business Development Advisor, West of England AHSN
T: 0117 984 1705
E: kate.phillips@weahsn.net

Matt Larkin, Communications Manager, West of England AHSN
T: 0117 984 1629
E: matt.larkin@weahsn.net

Find out more