The first four startups to join Velocity Health - the UK’s ground-breaking preventative digital healthcare accelerator programme - have been now been unveiled, chosen for their innovative ideas that seek to address key care challenges.

Under the programme, run by Merck Sharp & Dohme and Telefonica’s Wayra Open Future, each successful company stands to receive up to £68,000 in a mix of cash and dedicated acceleration services, including access to a network of mentors, coaches and investors and office space, to help progress their projects.

MOM Incubators is developing a low-cost inflatable incubator that aims to help reduce infant mortality. According to the World Health Organisation, one in 10 babies are born premature worldwide, 75% of which could be saved with inexpensive treatment like like MOM. 

The MOM incubator offers the same performance as conventional systems providing a stable heat environment for the child. The system is electronically controlled but can be powered from various sources, including batteries and solar, and is easily transportable.

Aparito combines disease specific mobile apps and wearable technology “to empower patients and make sure their doctors get the information they need when they need it”. The app and wearable devices generate real-time and real-world passive monitoring, reducing the need for repetitive tests and ensuring more meaningful routine clinic visits. 

The technology could prove particularly useful in painting a more accurate picture of health in children and in patients with rare diseases, which should help to improve the care they receive, the company notes.

Care comms network

SpeakSet, “the world’s simplest remote care service”, provides a video connection from a health professional to a patient's TV in their own home, and aims to become the communications network for all care services. 

Connecting elderly patients through simple video calling on their TV offers a scalable method of care delivery to those who use care services the most, the firm said, also noting that “the ability to also chat to friends and family makes SpeakSet the first social telehealth product and creates huge user engagement in the service”.

The system has the potentially to save care providers more than £2,400 a year for each patient with a long-term condition, a particularly attractive proposition in the current era of financial restraint.

Finally, TickerFit is a unique cloud-based application enabling healthcare professionals to provide personalised lifestyle interventions for patients based on their ‘real-time’ health states. 

The app, which is fed by passive monitoring via smartphones and wearables, will allow healthcare workers to easily prescribe and monitor lifestyle interventions for the first time, with data tracked in realtime to help measure outcomes. 

Commenting on the successful projects, Mike Nally, Managing Director of MSD UK, said: “What we’re seeing is the future of healthcare delivery in the UK - innovative products and services that will not only test the capabilities of what’s possible and put the patient at the heart of everything we do, but hopefully help society to become as good at ‘recognising and preventing’ disease as we are at ‘diagnosing and treating’.”