Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with Nova, a startup cofoundery based in Liverpool that specialises in cofounding digital health businesses. The partnership aims to foster the ideas of clinicians within the Trust, using the guidance and support of Nova to transform these ideas into viable health tech startups.
The Trust will be participating through CW Innovation, a healthcare innovation programme led jointly by the Trust and its charity CW+. In using the expertise and uniquely in-depth knowledge of clinical staff, the partnership seeks to develop solutions that can be deployed across hospitals both within the NHS and worldwide, evolving the deployment and provision of services, and ensuring the highest possible quality of patient care and treatment.
The partnership will have two central stages. Firstly, surveys, workshops, and tools will be deployed to find and generate ideas for startups, and encourage clinicians to contribute their knowledge to building businesses. Once the initial ideas have been collected, and the viable prospects have been selected, Nova will begin the acceleration process, providing the clinicians with technical knowledge, guidance, and expert mentors, building a team around them to develop the idea into a viable business. In offering this support, Nova circumvents the most common reasons for startup failure, such as a shortage of cash flow and lack of diversity in skills.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is already an established innovator in the UK healthcare sector and was a founding member of Digital Health London Accelerator. It was the first UK trust to trial a smartphone-linked electrocardiogram recorder to reduce stroke risk. CW Innovation, which launched in September, was founded to expand these efforts. Its current projects include tech solutions for acute diagnostic oncology, in-house creation of bespoke face masks and splints for burn victims, and a digital postnatal discharge system.
Dominic Conlin, Director of Strategy at Chelsea and Westminster, said: “Innovation is one of our core strategic pillars and together with our charity CW+, we have recently launched the CW Innovation programme to deliver new initiatives and technologies to transform patient care and experience. Nova’s track record in co-founding digital health businesses speaks for itself and we look forward to working in partnership to co-develop innovative and cutting-edge technologies that will make a real and lasting difference to how we run our hospitals and, critically, how we improve patient care in our hospitals and across the NHS.”
The partnership is the second of its kind entered into by Nova. Previously it has successfully partnered with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Acorn, which similarly sought to provide clinicians with the necessary tools to construct healthtech startups. Nova’s ambition in these partnerships is to create a network of hospitals to realise the business ideas unique to those working in healthcare.
The new project is based on an updated framework to Acorn, giving the clinical staff themselves a greater stake in the business. The staff whose ideas are selected for advancement will be given 10% ownership of the business, making them a key shareholder in the partnership.
Andy Dean, Head of Partnerships at Nova, commented: “Nova is deeply committed to solving problems in the world of healthcare through technology. We have co-founded digital health business across a spectrum of healthcare needs, and hope we can combine our expertise and resources with the brilliant people at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to create some truly innovative businesses and provide solutions to real needs in the sector.”
He adds: “Fundamental to our approach is putting the clinical staff at the centre of the business development process, and we are proud to be making each clinician a key shareholder in the founded businesses. This is an early step on the road to creating a nationwide innovation network of hospitals, trusts, and professionals.”