England’s National Health Service (NHS) has selected 138 entrepreneurs to design and deliver new technological solutions for healthcare challenges – one of which was appointed to tackle conditions like sickle cell disease (SCD) using a voice-recognition mobile app.
The support is part of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme, through which NHS workers collaborate with, and learn from, leading health and tech industry experts to develop their own innovative ideas. In its first year, the program launched 50 start-ups, creating 344 jobs.
Among this year’s 138 selected entrepreneurs, one decided to create a voice-controlled data collection mobile app for SCD patients. The app can be worn by patients to monitor their health daily, including their heart rate, pain score and medication log. With the new app, data can be tracked and processed to help inform patient care for this type of blood disease.
Bala Sirigireddy, head of hematology at blood transfusion at Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust, had his first business venture establishing a software training company for a Canadian charity operating in the south of India.
“I see the clinical entrepreneur programme as an amazing opportunity to make national and international level impact in improving healthcare. To be able to innovate new products/services and pathways with the guidance from NHS England is incredible. This unique opportunity facilitates in networking with likeminded entrepreneurs and industry experts, who are all eager to exchange ideas and make meaningful impact in health service,” Sirigireddy said in an NHS news story.
A mobile app for SCD patients could help tackle some of the disease’s most recognized challenges, as identified in the article “Sickle Cell Disease: Current Challenges,” published in 2015 in the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases.
According to this research, strict and tailor-made guidelines are necessary for specific countries and areas, because the global burden of SCD is rising. Also needed are specific prevention and management-related national policies – all challenges that potentially could be assisted by Big Data and innovative technology.
Additionally, systematic screening is another health concern that could be helped by smart monitoring, particularly in remote and underserved areas where patients can’t access healthcare services.