Accelerating Innovation to Support the NHS

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It’s no secret that the NHS continues to face mounting challenges. Whether it’s wait times, access to services, or funding, the load on our healthcare system seems to exponentially increase on a daily basis. The good news is that there are actually many innovators seeking to solve these problems. The NHS even has their own programmes to support these initiatives such as the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.

But often, innovators struggle to sell into the NHS (for many reasons), despite having excellent ideas and safe, working products that could improve healthcare services. One core challenge for healthtech innovators in selling to the NHS is to become and stay regulatory compliant. To ensure an innovation can be piloted or sold to the NHS, the innovation needs to be compliant with the entire Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) compliance framework.

Becoming DTAC compliant can take an immense amount of effort, especially for startups new to healthtech where compliance needs run deep. And this is why Acorn Compliance exists, our mission being to help dissolve barriers to entry for healthtech innovators and ensure that they can become and stay DTAC compliant, and therefore be eligible to pilot or sell their innovation to the NHS. With our DTAC Squirrel™ automated compliance platform there is now a new way to support innovators in becoming DTAC compliant.

The DTAC Squirrel™ can help innovators fast track DTAC compliance, moving the entire process on average from 6 months to 6 weeks! This means that in the critical first year, innovations that could launch with the NHS could enable 75% more time benefitting patients. From research we have concluded, if you average these innovators' reported benefits, appropriate apps that aid wait times could reduce those wait times by up to 25.2 days per year per patient. 

To put this into wider context, if you were taking a DIY approach to your DTAC compliance which based on our research would take an average of 6 months, and had an app that could reduce waiting times, this could lead to a reduction in waiting times by 12.8 days. But utilising the Squirrel the margin would increase, and all other things being equal, patient waiting time could be reduced by 22.4 days in the first year of use. Not only does this benefit individuals, but considering the systematic impact of reduced wait times, it’s astounding how much of an improvement this could bring to our healthcare services.

From another perspective, accelerating innovators time to market, which the DTAC Squirrel™ supports, could also benefit the NHS by utilising corporate funded services to support NHS workers.

For example, there are billions of pounds currently being spent on developing services to improve the mental health of workers. CIPD reports that an average of 51% of all days taken off from work are the result of mental health challenges. The private sector has shown promise in improving the mental health of workers and predicts an eight fold return on investments in this field.

Although DTAC would not be required for private sector app deployments, there is evidence to suggest that private sector buyers, especially those who are ISO 27001 compliant are checking that appropriate compliance is in place before onboarding mental health and other applications. Such compliance checking usually includes almost all of the components of DTAC. So following the DTAC criteria is a good strategy for any healthtech application development, whether it is intended for the private sector or the NHS. 

And when innovators developing mental health services become DTAC compliant 10x faster with the DTAC Squirrel™, the NHS will also benefit from the private sector investment as bringing innovations to market faster whilst maintaining high levels of clinical safety and security, could reduce patient volume for such services without using the NHS’ finite resources.

It’s clear that innovators are playing a key role in the healthcare ecosystem where both the NHS and patients can benefit from increased availability of safe secure and compliant apps. At Acorn Compliance we envision a future where healthcare innovations have the ability to get to market at the speed of light! With the DTAC Squirrel™ which is AI-led but crucially backed by expert support every step of the way we can help make this a reality.

So if you’re an innovator and would like to accelerate your compliance journey to help patients as soon as possible, please book in a free 30 minute demo of our DTAC Squirrel™ Automated Compliance Platform and we’ll show how we can support you on your journey to full DTAC compliance!

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