MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd) have partnered with Wayra (Telefonica’s tech start up accelerator) launched the first preventative healthcare start-up programme in the UK.
Velocity Health, the acceleration programme, will kick off with a search for the UK’s best tech start-ups dedicated to using digital to offer preventative healthcare solutions including cancer, Alzheimer’s, obesity and diabetes.
With the NHS funding gap set to reach £30bn by 2020 and with only 4% of NHS budget invested in preventative healthcare digital innovation is being seen as an essential investment to combat the challenges outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward Plan.
In 2014 over $4bn was invested in the US in digital health companies focused on consumer engagement, data and analytics, personalised medicine and wearable devices. The large market segment currently dominated by personal fitness and exercise tech is expected to be disrupted over the next decade by virtual reality, artificial intelligence, deep learning, big data analytics and sensor innovation.
The UK government’s commitment to a digital health agenda will drive accelerator programmes like Velocity Health as the industry searches for best tech innovation to help identify and prevent the rise of major diseases amid an ageing population in the UK.
From intelligent glasses for the visually impaired, to phone apps identifying possible melanoma, Velocity Health will launch the programme with a search for best tech start-ups in preventative healthcare.