Health and Care Innovation


Care and health provision is one of the most promising global markets and services enabled by technology the newest and fastest area of growth. Over £1bn is spent on the delivery of NHS services across Liverpool City region and increasing levels of investment are being diverted towards technology enabled activity to help drive forward transformation. Great things are happening in the Liverpool City Region including:

  • an NHS with appetite for transformation
  • a network of highly innovative sole traders and small companies
  • community based, technology initiatives led by the NHS and Councils.
  • innovative care, health and well-being organisations and a well-educated workforce
  • world-class universities and research institutes
  • large innovative companies with an interest in the region

This has created an environment with potential leverage for companies that not only compete but also cooperate on new innovations at the edge of what is technically feasible. In recognition of this situation, the European Commission has made Liverpool and the North-West Coast innovation reference sites for active and healthy ageing.

NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) aims be one of the top 10 most digitally advanced health and social care economies in Europe by 2020. We are transforming the way services are delivered through a channel shift in delivery models including scaled use of digital technology. Liverpool now has the largest scale deployment of technology supported care in Europe within a single health economy (according to the EC Research Unit). Putting citizens at the heart of everything we do, our ambition is to enable and empower citizens to take control of their own health and wellbeing, whilst ensuring practitioners have immediate and appropriate access to the information they need. You can read more about our Digital Care and Innovation programme in the Healthy Liverpool blueprint pages 18-23

In support of this agenda, NHS Liverpool CCG played a formative role in the development of 3 current European programmes:

  • Part-funded (£1.8m from September 2017–August 2018) by European Regional Development Fund, Liverpool City Region Health Enterprise HubInnovation Exchange works to accelerate the rate at which small local businesses develop and commercialise innovative products/services for the health and care industry. It creates a collaborative community that connects SMEs to expertise and support from within the NHS and care community.

The Health Enterprise Hub (IE):

  • delivers specialised SME support across the innovation cycle – invention, co-creation, testing and market routes
  • stimulates and supports collaboration and co-creation to enable industry develop and test innovations in real world settings
  • generates additional finance to accelerate market growth and scale innovation

And will enhance the regions capacity as a centre of excellence in scaling smart and innovative solutions whilst enabling the health and social to deliver more effectively and efficiently.

Health Enterprise Hub (IE) delivery partners are Liverpool CCG (lead), Aimes Grid Services, Alder Hey NHS Trust, Innovation Agency, LCR LEP, LJMU and Mersey Care NHS Trust working together to support LCR SMEs, especially those working in service, digital, creative, technology and some life science sectors, that can generate healthcare and societal benefits - particularly where LCR is a market leader and has a smart specialisation strategy.

It includes supporting SMEs to repurpose their technologies (encouraging companies that do not currently work in the health, care and well-being space to apply their products and services to the sector). Hub partners are working together to:

  • improve existing business support so that it understands technology, care and health markets and has the ability to speak the same language
  • enable citizens, care and health services and practitioners with technology
  • align R&D (academia and NHS provider trusts) and delivery (industry) to the needs and expectations of end citizens
  • drive collaboration
  • retain talent
  • exploit the full potential of engagement with leading edge SMEs and regions elsewhere in Europe.

And help service and technology businesses address and tackle barriers along the market route through a coordinated activity.

The Health Enterprise Hub offer is proving very attractive to LCR SMEs with c62% of programmed businesses being identified and signed up in the 1st 8 months of activity.

  • Part-funded by Interreg Europe (£1.7m from January 2017-December 2021), Innovation in Health and Carefor All (ITHACA) aims to share experiences and good practices on smart health and care innovation, to improve active and healthy ageing of the population. ITHACA involves 9 EU regions with a shared ambition to accelerate the scaling up of smart health and care innovation that can support active and healthy living and secure the triple win of economic growth, more sustainable health and care systems and improved wellbeing of Europe’s citizens. Its primary goal is to improve Structural Funds’ policies and implementation across the smart health and care innovation cycle (invention, co-creation, market testing, validation, scaling up) and to enhance regional and interregional ecosystems.

Recognising that effective, innovation cycle outcomes require enhanced cooperation between multiple stakeholders, ITHACA incorporates interregional collaboration, involving a wide range of expert stakeholders, that comprises exchange of good practices, mutual learning, peer assessment, knowledge transfer, targeted coaching and collective, co-designed policy development

The first phase of the project began in January 2017. It involves 9 EU regions – all of who are members of the CORAL (Community of Regions for Assisted Living) network.  It will deliver its results through interlinked project activities and outputs during 3 sequential steps: (1) Identification and Analysis; (2) Interregional Mutual Learning; (3) Knowledge Transfer and Action Planning.

  • ALTAS (Assistive Living Training and Skills) Programme - Led by NHS Liverpool CCG and co–funded by Erasmus (£313k from September 2015 – August 2018). ALTAS partners are pursuing activity to:
    • address the shortfall in training and skills development for care and health practitioners
    • establish a recognised standard, curriculum, course and qualification
    • stimulate demand for and increased uptake of innovation
    • provide an opportunity to continuously update the curricula and standards

This transnational collaboration includes partners from Edge Hill University (UK), Polibienestar Research Institute, University of Valencia (Spain), Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain), Municipality of Kvinesdal (Norway), University College Lillebaelt (Denmark), HfT Trust Ltd (UK), Innovation Agency (UK) and Smarter Futures (NL / UK / ES)

To date, a curriculum has been developed and mapped to the relevant educational standards for the regions involved. The key curriculum outcomes are to develop knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that staff, individually and collaboratively, are confident in applying the most appropriate technology to users, can understand and explain the benefits of the technologies to users and can understand the use, development and impact of the technologies. In general, of technologies in people’s lives, to enable all staff to engage confidently with technologies to make informed, ethical and sustainable decisions whilst they raise awareness of the benefits of assistive living technologies with their colleagues and clients.

Key to this activity has been addressing the differential between educational requirements in health and social care across Europe.

For more information about the ALTAS Project, please visit

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