SBRI Healthcare is streaming £2.1 million into supporting the development of innovative technologies that strive to revolutionise primary care and GP services.

In the latest round of awards, issued by the NHS England-funded initiative and led by the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), 22 companies will take home a share of the investment to help progress and commercialise their new technologies.

According to SBRI Healthcare, the successful projects have been selected on their potential value to the health service and on the improved outcomes delivered to patients.

“There are few areas of our daily lives that remain untouched by technological advancement. Through the SBRI Healthcare programme, the AHSN Network is working with industry partners to develop solutions that will help deliver high quality GP services to a growing and ageing population, and ensure patients across the country benefit from new and innovative technologies,” noted Dr Liz Mear, chair of the AHSN Network.

The companies will be supported and fully funded to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their proposed concept for a six month development phase, the most promising of which will progress through (phase 2) to be further supported and funded to take their technologies through to commercialisation.

The innovations, which will each benefit from awards of up to £100,000 each at this stage, fall into three categories of self-care, diagnostics and earlier triage, and workload and demand management.

Winners include: a device that measures novel biomarkers in a patient’s breath to immediately distinguish a viral from a bacterial respiratory tract infection allowing the GP to prescribe antibiotics quickly and appropriately; and a technology that allows for automatic vital sign measurement - heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation - whilst booking in with the receptionist, optimising the patient’s visit and maximising time with the GP.

“90 percent of patient contacts happen in General Practice, so improvements to the quality and efficiency in primary care can have a massive effect on the rest of the system,” noted Dr Peter Brindle, commissioning evidence informed care lead for the West of England AHSN, a member of the reviewing panel.

“Innovation in General Practice is not new, but the SBRI GP of the Future award has matched the major issues of diagnostics, patient self-care and practice workload with the very best of business solutions.”