Eight UK companies have each received funding from SBRI Healthcare to develop promising, innovative projects within mental health and end-of-life care.

SBRI Healthcare - an NHS England funded initiative to accelerate the development of innovative products and services that address unmet health needs - has chosen to support and fully fund the feasibility stage of each of these projects, selected on their potential value to the health service and improved outcomes to patients.

A total of £5 million has been made available for phase one and two of the competition, which is being directed by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network, with an average of £73,000 handed to each company for the six-month development phase.  

Those businesses that successfully demonstrate feasibility will progress to phase two, during which further support and cash will be given to help the projects to market. 

Dynamic Health Systems is developing VitruCare in association with Sue Ryder, an Internet-delivered supported self-care service for people with long-term conditions, which offers substantial improvement in the quality and efficiency of care, together with an improved sense of personal control at the end of life.

Axel Shulte, Dynamic's chief executive, told PharmaTimes World News that the funding provided by NHS England under the SBRI Healthcare programme has provided "the opportunity to research the care management needs of people in palliative care and how these needs could be addressed through digital services for both patients and carers". 

"Having already spoken with close to 100 patients, a pattern of problems and solutions is emerging that could significantly improve service provision, patient empowerment and sense of control, leading to a much improved service experience," he said.

Other successful organisations include: the University of Bristol, which is developing a therapeutic computer game that integrates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to support evidence-based intervention for young adolescents experiencing depression and anxiety; Advanced Digital Institute (Shipley, West Yorkshire), which is working on state-of-the-art CBT-based interventions for chronic pain sufferers via a software agent running on smartphones, either as a substitute for, or complement to, face-to-face sessions with a trained therapist; and St Joseph’s Hospice (London), which is creating Care Compass, the UK’s first website that provides patient-led support to those facing a life-limiting diagnosis.