The Welsh Government has announced a £150,000 fund for healthcare firms to find new ways to use digital technology to combat coronavirus.
The challenge fund aims to quickly trial solutions in health and care to improve remote diagnostics, data collection and monitor PPE availability.
It is hoped projects applying to the COVID-19 Digital Solutions Fund will change the way people are diagnosed, treated and managed by the health service.
The fund will support the rapid piloting and evaluation of new digital platforms, apps and technologies to determine their long-term use and potential in the health service.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted an urgent need for new digital technology to help us contain and respond to the virus.
“This call to action could make a massive difference not only in our immediate response to the pandemic, but in our day-to-day health services.
“It is important we embrace digital technologies and use some of its potential to improve routine care.
“We have already received more than 180 offers of new ideas, products and services from industry, offering staff time, new apps and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This call to action will help us evaluate the best options and their long-term value.”
The budget for the competitive call to action will award up to £30k to the best five to eight projects, which meet the criteria.
These will be identified by a panel, including NHS, Welsh Government and industry representatives.
The rapid pilots will run throughout July and August with a potential for the new technology to be roll out from early September.
The following themes have been identified as offering the greatest challenge and potential impact:
- Remote diagnosis and triage of patients
- Optimising data collection and processing
- Tracking, managing and reporting on PPE availability and usage
- Remote citizen support and treatment
Helen Northmore, from the Life Sciences Hub Wales, which will be co-ordinating the responses to the call to action, said:
“Technology can help transform the way the NHS in Wales delivers healthcare services.
“This challenge fund is a perfect opportunity to test and develop technologies which offer the largest impact and best value solutions during coronavirus and beyond.
“We are delighted to support this competition – this fund will enable rapid evaluation of potential digital innovations for health and care delivery in Wales.”
Applications can be submitted at www.sdi.click/coviddigital. The closing date is June 8.