Getting your digital health product adopted by the UK’s largest procurer

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Sara Ver-Bruggen
3 Minutes

How our SimDH programme prepares start-ups and SMEs to capitalise on opportunities within the NHS

Health accounts for the biggest portion of UK government spending, more than three times that of defence. In 2018/2019 the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) spent around £70 billion on procurement, the majority of which is NHS spending.

NHS focus on innovation

In order to simplify commercialisation pathways for new innovations applicable to healthcare the NHS launched the Accelerated Access Collaborative (ACC), which has become the umbrella organisation for UK health innovation.

As part of its remit the ACC is establishing a UK-wide Innovation Service as the “go-to” place for innovators to navigate the path to market. It aims to address problems identified in the Accelerated Access Review (2016) that include innovators spending too much time “knocking on doors”.

That said, would-be providers of digital health technologies and services, which are typically start-ups or SMEs, are strapped for time and resources to devote to understanding complex paths to securing a procurement contract within an organisation as large as the NHS.

This is where South Bank Innovation's (SBI) digital health accelerator programme Simulation for Digital Health (SimDH) can help.

Tailored support for digital health tech innovators

SimDH provides all the support for digital health innovators seeking pathways to commercialisation within the NHS. The free programme is designed to support health technology start-ups and SMEs to innovate, develop and deliver new products and services.

SimDH participants can tap into a range of bespoke support the programme is able to provide through allying the extensive academic knowledge within LSBU with varied experience of industry partners working in healthcare.

SimDH 2022 cohort

Participants on the SimDH programme gain support via five-month cohort structure, with the next cohort starting in 2022. Applications are due by Sunday 5 December 2021.

Participants are provided with a bespoke pathway, comprising one-to-one meetings with expert consultants, along with personal development opportunities, plus support with product development.

The programme can support participants with a range of goals they want to achieve with their innovation during the next six months, which are focused on supporting commercialisation.

Develop a business model for your innovation  

Applicants are encouraged to join SimDH, whether they are seeking access to NHS, looking to gain medical device certification, intending to raise funds or secure grants, want to find out more about how to protect intellectual property, build a minimum value product(MVP), demonstrate product effectiveness through independent testing and research and launch product to market.

The SimDH cohort enables health technology small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise, facilities and support they require to succeed. Participants are placed on a pathway most appropriate for their development stage with longer-term research and development opportunities available to those eligible.

As part of the application process, businesses can propose projects with experts from across LSBU to further develop their product and support their progress towards launching to market. A core element of the SimDH programme is focused on business development and strategy. Participants will gain an understanding of NHS procurement as well as business model support.

If you already have an MVP or a product/process/service on the market, completing a product evaluation collaboration proposal will help you prove its' effectiveness to the NHS and other future procurers, as well as other accelerator programmes that can further facilitate the adoption of the innovation into the health and social care system.

Find out more about SimDH and apply at