Leading health practitioners and policy specialists are gathering in London’s Olympia for the UK’s largest event for those involved in digital health – The Healthcare Efficiency Through Healthcare Expo. Preventative healthcare will be high on the agenda with the launch of a new call to action for start-ups in the preventative healthcare spectrum (Velocity Health) to develop new technologies that aim to deliver better patient outcomes, help the NHS close funding gaps and, ultimately, save lives.

According to NHS data* the UK performs poorly on some of the most important health issues compared to other European countries and we will continue to do so unless we take urgent action to tackle preventable diseases caused by obesity, smoking, alcohol and other major health risks. Deaths from heart disease in France are a quarter of that of the UK; death rate from all cancers for women in Spain is two thirds of that of the UK and in the US, male deaths from all cancers is 90 per cent of the British rate*. Long term diseases such as diabetes are also pushing the NHS to breaking point with diabetes responsible for 200,000 ‘devastating complications’ including amputation, heart attack and stroke every year, costing 10% of the overall annual budget**. Diabetes UK warns that the figures illustrate the ‘frightening scale of the condition’ and highlight the urgent need for the NHS to make improving care for people with the condition a priority.

In response, one of the first start-ups to have joined the Wayra accelerator academy preventative health programme is MumoActive (http://mumoactive.com/) – they have built a next generation Type 1 diabetes management tool which tracks and shares key diabetes information in real time, with doctors and hospitals. Mumoactive is an example of ‘invention born out of necessity’ with founder Sheldon Steed developing the technology after his youngest son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes with health threatening complications. Realising that it was difficult to track insulin levels, Sheldon set about creating a communication and tracking system which shares information with doctors which has helped his son avoid numerous hospitalisations. Sheldon is in advanced talks with a number of NHS trusts to trial the self-help tool to over 200,000 people. It makes diabetes management more like text messaging and less like a visit to the doctor.

With the NHS funding gap set to reach £30billion by 2020 and with only 4%* of NHS budget invested in preventative healthcare*, digital innovation is being seen as an essential investment to combat the challenges outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward Plan.

*NHS England Five Year Forward View (Oct 2014)

**Diabetes UK http://www.diabetes.co.uk/cost-of-diabetes.html