Wayra and MSD launch preventative healthcare accelerator

Start-ups challenged to “reimagine how healthcare can be delivered”

Digital start-up accelerator Wayra and global healthcare company Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd (MSD) have launched what is thought to be the UK’s first digital preventative healthcare accelerator, Velocity Health.

Digital entrepreneurs are being challenged to “reimagine how healthcare can be delivered”, by developing innovative solutions to improve patient outcomes and increase savings and efficiencies to Britain’s healthcare system.

Successful start-ups will take part in a 10-month accelerator programme, receiving an investment of up to £64,000 in the form of funding, office space and access to a network of mentors, coaches and investors.

Wayra and MSD have decided to focus on preventable health as the NHS currently only spends 2% of its budget on prevention programmes and in response to the revelation that the service is facing an estimated £30bn funding gap by 2020/21.

Gary Stewart, director at Wayra Open Future, UK, said: “We know that to make a real impact, we need to have a long term vision and look ahead to the next century of delivering innovative healthcare solutions.

“Through Velocity Health, we want to empower patients to take more control and ownership over their wellbeing and believe emerging digital technologies have a vital part to play in achieving this goal.”

Mike Nally, managing director of MSD UK, commented: ‘Technology is revolutionising how we manage healthcare and the UK can be at the heart of it. Digital start-ups are at the forefront of this innovation.

“As a healthcare company with a long legacy of investing in innovation and research and development, we want to actively invest in these types of businesses and harness the amazing talent that is emerging so that we become equally good at ‘recognising and preventing’ disease as ‘diagnosing and treating’ to help reduce demand for expensive acute services and capacity in the long term.”

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