Unique event aims to provide technology solutions for healthcare issues in Cornwall

‘Maximising Technology in Health and Care’ event on 4th July

For the first time in Cornwall, the NHS and other healthcare professionals are being brought together with pioneering health technology companies, to see how they can work together to benefit people across the region and beyond.

On July 4th Cornwall Council and Falmouth University will co-host Independence Day: Maximising Technology in Health and Care, a health technology event at Falmouth University.

The health tech industry is worth billions and the digital revolution, which has already reshaped many other sectors, is transforming healthcare. Experts say that by 2020 the global value will be around £37bn, with the UK thought to be on course to take around five percent.

NHS England has already said that it is looking to save billions from the health budget by embracing technology. Kathy Byrne, Chief Executive of NHS hospital Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust says, “Within such a large organisation as the NHS, we’re always amazed at the talent, innovative ideas and opportunities proposed to us by some of the smaller players in the tech sector, but rarely have the chance to meet so many health technology businesses in one place. Maximising Technology in Health and Care on 4th July provides a fantastic opportunity to meet the businesses and entrepreneurs and start those conversations about their products and services that have so often led to improving the healthcare system.”

This event is set to provide a unique and rare opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services to the healthcare sector, a system comprised of numerous organisations renowned for being notoriously hard to penetrate, especially for SME’s.

The national healthcare ecosystem is undergoing a dramatic, fundamental shift with rising healthcare costs, increased demand on systems and growing, ageing populations placing our health and social care systems under unprecedented pressure. With its unique sense of entrepreneurship, community and sense of place, Cornwall is responding to this global challenge in a radical way – utilising and capitalising on emerging technologies and maximising the region’s opportunities through research and innovation.

Head of Inward Investment at Invest in Cornwall, Cornwall Council’s arm’s length economic development company Cornwall Development Company, Nicola Lloyd says “We’re not only focusing on local companies, but also international businesses that enable Cornwall to thrive on inward investment and new ideas and innovation developed around the world. In recent years, we have seen a growing interest in international businesses relocating to the region and we’re delighted to see a strong pipeline ahead. This not only reinforces the strength of the opportunities and capabilities in Cornwall for foreign direct investment, but these global companies also bring a foreign energy to the region generating more jobs as a result.”

Cornwall Council Chief Executive, Kate Kennally, says “We believe we have got a unique opportunity in Cornwall to join up health and social care. Our geography, means that we have got coterminous health and social care organisations which are partnering with leading institutions such as Falmouth University to look at ways in which we can deliver integrated healthcare in rural, digitally enabled communities to improve outcomes and give people more choice and control. We have got a range of businesses interested in partnering with us, so I am delighted that we are hosting with Falmouth university a health technology event in Cornwall. We hope to promote the organic growth of partnerships between health technology businesses from across the world and representatives from the NHS, local government and health and care organisations – ensuring the right people are in the right place at the same time.”

Two key examples of such partnerships are EPIC and Smartline. Both of which have recently secured funding within the region. The EPIC (E-health Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) project is designed to improve the use of technology in both health and social care with the hope of improving the health and wellbeing of people in Cornwall and improve the Cornish economy in this sector. Smartline: Smart wellbeing inspired by the community, is a research and innovation project aimed at supporting the development of the eHealth and eWellbeing market in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  Smartline will help Cornish SMEs develop innovative products, processes and services by increasing understanding of how technology can be used to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Dr Tim Taylor, Senior Lecturer in the University of Exeter Medical School and Smartline Principal Investigator says “Our objective is connecting communities to help individuals take back control of their health and wellbeing. Cornwall has been the perfect starting point for this project as the infrastructure, talent, necessary resources and general sense of community already exists, helping to ensure that we are in the best place possible to organically grow the development of the eHealth and eWellbeing market in the region by linking innovation to cutting edge research and working closely with Cornish SMEs’ to support research and development in this field.”

Professor Ray Jones, Plymouth University says “The University of Plymouth will organise 10 locality groups around Cornwall and identify problems in health and social care that have possible technology solutions. In turn, EPIC will develop their ideas and help them apply for funding set aside to support individual projects. Creative England will play a crucial role in helping technology businesses diversify into the health and care sector. Cornwall is the ideal location for EPIC due to the amount of entrepreneurial companies looking to partner with organisations within the region, enabling them to export to the rest of the UK or internationally. Already proving successful, we’re delighted this event has been organised to fully explore the opportunities and partnerships available.”

In addition to representatives from these two projects, the event will feature key note speakers, market places to explore the most innovative health technology businesses and above all provide a networking opportunity for all relevant parties to discover more about the newest opportunities within the health technology sector.

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