Reflections of a TechForce19 Participant

Ever wonder what it’s like to successfully apply for, and then to deploy your program, as part of a high-stakes challenge? Reader Adrian Scaife, Business Development Manager of Alcuris Ltd., has been on an eight-week merry-go-round on hyperdrive (to mix a few metaphors). We invited him to tell us what it was like after the reports were handed in, and his impressions follow. Thank you, Adrian!

Now the Rapid Feasibility stage has been completed and outcome reports submitted, it’s a good time to sit back and take stock of the last 8 weeks.

It all started in late March when Matt Hancock asked for innovative tech companies to support vulnerable people during the Covid crisis around three themes, Optimising Staffing in Care and Volunteering Sectors, Mental Health and Remote Care. The funding available totalled £500,000 and was planned to be shared across 20 companies.

Even at the start the ambition, the scale and the pace of the initiative were very clear.

Looking back, it is apparent that the initiative has become a brand–TechForce19 – a great name, logo and its own website. The benefit to all is a set of unifying objectives, direction, urgency, and something that people and organisation can come together to support.

The sheer number of organisations involved in the initiative was breath-taking. Funding was from the Department of Health and Social Care along with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. It was run by NHSX supported by Public Ltd., the Academic Health Science Networks including the Health Innovation Network in London and other experts from a variety of organisations.

The application process was at speed with a launch date of 24th March and application submission by noon 1st April (and that was the extended deadline!). The application form was thorough in the questions asked particularly around how you would conduct a two-week test to demonstrate that you can solve the challenge(s). We also knew it was going to be scored based on Solution feasibility, Company credibility, Impact, and Digital maturity.

The selection process was equally fast with feedback on the next stage due Friday 4th April. Friday came and went, and we feared the worst. Little did we know at the time that over 1,600 applications had been received. Just before midnight on Saturday an email was received announcing we were through to the interview stage and ours was on Monday. 60 interviews were completed over the next few days.

Just over a week later, confirmation that our proposal had been accepted, one of just 18 participants. Time to deliver on our plan. Just 10 days to plan the project in detail, provide partner training, deliver the hardware, for our partners to collect their referrals and then to deploy the Memo Connected Care Suite. Two weeks of live running. Evaluation and an outcomes report to be submitted by the 18th May.

I must give enormous praise and thanks to our partners for their commitment to deliver when all around them the pressures on their services due to Covid were unbelievable.

So now the Feasibility and Outcomes report has been submitted. We have received some terrific feedback both from families and Social Care staff. Did the project go according to plan? Well not entirely but when do they ever, especially during a national crisis.

One surprise that I shall never forget is Nasdaq, the American stock exchange, wanted to applaud digital innovators globally who were supporting the Covid fight. They promoted the work of TechForce19 on their seven storey Nasdaq Tower in Times Square, New York by highlighting each of the 18 participants.

TechForce19 is an NHSX Covid-19 response initiative, supported by PUBLIC and the AHSN Network. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of NHSX or its partners.

PUBLIC’s website has profiles on the 17 other TechForce19 participants, including many names familiar to our Readers, such as Just Checking and Buddi. Our earlier article is hereHat tip to Reader Alistair Appleby.

 

 

Buddi looking for two dynamic Sales Account Managers (UK)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/lavender_set_34.jpg-buddi.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]A note from reader Fiona Carmichael advises us that the Buddi personal emergency response system is seeking two professionals to become UK Sales Account Managers. “Your role will have a key focus on driving new business within a B2B environment, as well as building and developing existing customer accounts for organic growth.” Please contact Fiona directly after you read the job description (docx). (This closes 28 Feb.)

(A reminder to our Readers that Who’s Hiring–and Who’s Available–are free services of TTA and a great way to connect with thousands of readers in the UK and the US. We post initially in Latest News and archive in ‘Who’s available?’ and ‘Who’s hiring’.)

Care Innovations partners with caregiver mental health app Happify

Intel-GE Care Innovations announced yesterday a partnership with NYC-based Happify to integrate their mental health for caregivers app into Health Harmony by 1st Quarter 2016. Happify is a game-based app targeted to caregivers of the chronically ill to support their mental health and wellbeing through cognitive behavioral therapy, ‘positive psychology’ and conquering negative thinking. Currently it is marketed to healthcare providers and corporate wellness programs. According to the release, “By adding on access to Happify’s innovative mobile app, Care Innovations will be able to leverage state-of-the-art programs to improve the well-being of family caregivers and offer additional programs to its clients.” This is certainly an interesting integration to the typical vital signs and qualitative information gathering of patient data in thinking about the caregiver. However, we note that a previously announced partnership, with UK’s buddi announced last December, is not to be found on the CI website. Release (Business Wire)

An alert watch for older adults that responds to voice commands

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/UnaliWear_Images_r6_c4.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]This Editor has been in Watch Overload (see Apple Watch) for months, but this may be an exception. The UnaliWear Kanega watch (in development) is for the sizable market of older adults who would wear a well-designed watch or band for safety assistance, but not one that screams Old Person With Plastic PERS, an objective shared with the latest edition of buddi [TTA 16 Dec 14]. Their prototype looks like a fairly techno steel watch, a little on the chunky side, but it packs in a lot: a 9-axis accelerometer for fall detection, a GPS locator, Bluetooth LE, cellular/Wi-Fi connectivity and a digital analog display with time and date. What’s unique: no buttons, smartphone or other tether. It works via speech recognition and ‘talks with’ the wearer (via mechanical voice, messaging on the display and a feed to a BLE hearing aid if worn.) (more…)

News highlights for Friday

AnthemHealth didn’t encrypt, Blueprint Health collects, HealthSpot funds again, Sense4Baby goes to Europe, Apple Health pilots in hospitals and buddi gets bigger still.

Another hack attack claimed major US health insurer AnthemHealth, the former WellPoint. It’s estimated that 80 million of its customers, former customers and employees had data breached: names, addresses, dates of birth, emails, employment information, income, medical IDs and SSIs. The Wall Street Journal reports that Anthem didn’t encrypt data for analytics reasons. It’s unconfirmed where the hackers originated but Bloomberg’s latest report tags the usual Chinese state-sponsored suspects. Unusually, it was reported within days of discovery; Anthem has called in Mandiant (FireEye) to beef up its cybersecurity. Other reports: WSJ, Modern Healthcare….The Blueprint Health accelerator has a new initiative, the Collective. It is designed to pair up major healthcare providers and payers with startups and early stage companies. So far signed up are Aetna, AstraZeneca, HP, Montefiore, North Shore LIJ, New York-Presbyterian, Samsung, EmblemHealth, Philips and Razorfish Healthware. More information here….The HealthSpot Station telehealth/telemedicine kiosk is readying a $11.6 million funding round from four investors soon, based on (more…)

buddi wins £20 million in contracts, signs up with Care Innovations in US

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/lavender_set_34.jpg-buddi.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]buddi, a well-known UK personal tracker/tagger company, announced over the weekend that they have signed two contracts worth £20 million ($25.1 million). The first and most of interest is with Intel-GE Care Innovations for their new, quite attractive wrist-worn fall detector/two-way emergency alert/activity monitor. According to the Telegraph, it was designed by Sebastian Conran (left) and was ‘fully certified by the US government in recent weeks’ which may mean that it gained FDA clearance. The second was for their ‘Smart Tag’ used in criminal tracking with the New South Wales, Australia government. Care Innovations adds another consumer-facing device to the Lively activity tracker and iHealth fitness and telehealth devices. Timing for availability is not disclosed. (more…)

Wearables more than trackers…family communicators

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Zoomed.jpg” thumb_width=”180″ /]This article from Connected World, despite the title of Will your kid wear wearables?, is a look at Revolutionary Tracker, which has developed two products from a GPS-enabled tracker to a simplified smartwatch. Both read to a smartphone for GPS tracking and communication. Where it differs is that the company broadly, not narrowly targets, ‘family tracking and communications’ as a modish wearable–infants, children, special needs children and adults (the autism market which most trackers have concentrated on), older adults and pets. Lone workers are another market, and a newer market: groups such as in camps, school trips and residential communities. It is also unusually made in USA, and the founders already have in the works a more sophisticated-looking design with multiple buttons and text functionality.

Our related recent coverage: KeepUS (UK only), Mindme (also UK),  We’ve covered Lok8U (UK/US) in the past and buddi (UK) as far back as 2009.