Next up in our series of guest Rewired blogs, Hassan Chaudhury explains why digital tech innovators must have the evidence to prove their value and how Rewired Pitchfest 2021 can help

Digital innovators have made significant progress across healthcare in unprecedented times, with widespread adoption and huge capital raises, but the reality is that it is still an incredibly tough market to break into and scale particularly if you are a new start-up.

There is just so much noise with suppliers all claiming to be able to do what is required and the NHS is desperately short of time and capacity to consider what is being thrown at them. 

It has always been challenging for innovators to reach NHS decision-makers, and this has been exacerbated during the pandemic with buyers firefighting to meet the technology requirements associated with remote care, and remote working leaving little time to consider new technology from unknown suppliers. 

To stand a chance, innovators must be able to demonstrate, with evidence, the efficacy of their technology. They must show that their solution is secure and open by design, has a product/market fit and has demonstrable success in its NHS adoption.

How can we support this? The answer is to have more deployments of promising innovation into NHS test-beds to generate robust data on effectiveness (or how something performs in messy real-world settings) and not just in ideal, controlled conditions.

Rewired 2021 Pitchfest offers the opportunity for start-ups to win an NHS test bed site to do just this. The winner will have the opportunity to get their tech into the hands of users to be evaluated and to generate data on clinical effectiveness, health economic impact and human factors. It’s a great opportunity and I am looking forward to watching the Pitchfest heats each day to see the novel solutions are coming through the innovation pipeline.      

I am fortunate that I am in a position to advise companies thinking of setting up in the UK about what they need to do to progress, and testing their product in the NHS is a key element of my toolkit. You only have to ask those firms fortunate enough to be part of prestigious initiatives such as the NHS Innovation Accelerator, as well as winners of major competitions such as the Artificial Intelligence Award run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research, to see how evidence of outcomes, impact and how users interact is critical.

 The Pitchfest judges will evaluate tech start-ups on what problem they seek to solve i.e. is there a genuine pain point in the NHS and crucially if there is robust and independent evidence that the solution works. Rewired Pitchfest fits exactly with the need of our time in UK healthtech and eligible companies would be mad to miss out.

Watch the Rewired Pitchfest heats and final each day during Rewired 2021, 15-19 March. Register (free for NHS staff) to attend.  

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