We have previously reported on the Accelerated Access Review (AAR), which made 18 recommendations to the UK government for speeding up patient access to new medical technologies. The overarching aim of the AAR was to make the UK a world-leader in healthcare innovation. The AAR report, which was published in October 2016, was particularly focused on digital technologies, and recognized that the current systems in place are not sufficiently flexible to realize the full potential of digital health.

To implement the recommendations of the AAR, the UK government announced last week that it is investing a total of £86 million in four projects aimed at encouraging small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop and test new products and technologies in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

One of the four projects to be funded by the new package is the ‘Digital Health Technology Catalyst’. The Catalyst will receive £35 million to help support innovators by match-funding the development of digital technologies for use by patients and the NHS. The government specifically highlighted digital technologies that help patients manage their conditions from home, or that develop new medicines, as possible areas of development, and cited MyCOPD as a successful project to be repeated – an online system that helps people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease better manage their condition.

The announcement has been publicly welcomed by a number of industry representative groups, including the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), techUK, BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA).