The UK Government’s business grant arm Innovate UK has awarded compliance platform Naq, £322,000 ($405,932) as part of a £460,000 project to streamline processes for digital health technologies. 

Digital transformation has been at the top of the National Health Service’s (NHS) agenda in recent years. Currently, digital health technologies aiming to be used by the NHS must meet strict standards, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive for innovators.  

These technologies require Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) approval and assessment from NHS England. Digital tools receive a pass or fail in four categories: clinical safety, data protection, technical security, and interoperability. However, according to Innovate UK, many companies struggle with the regulatory requirements.  

The Naq platform aims to streamline the compliance process by automating work and saving time and resources for innovators. The platform provides real-time visibility into the compliance status across various standards, including cybersecurity, information governance, and clinical safety frameworks. This can save time for the NHS and local authority commissioners by simplifying diligence paperwork and safeguarding the supply chain.  

An Amsterdam and London-based startup, Naq raised €3m ($3.25m) in a seed funding round earlier this year. The round was led by No Such Ventures and other existing investors.  

The NHS set up its Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme in July 2015, to help with uptake of high-impact innovations for patients. Last month, the programme announced 12 new fellows including Steve Barnett, vice president of global engagement at C2-Ai -an AI risk stratification tool that utilises machine learning to help hospitals reduce avoidable harm. 

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AI will be a key driver of healthcare innovation, according to GlobalData medical device analyst Joselia Carlos. According to a report on GlobalData’s Medical Intelligence Center, the AI in the medical market was worth $336m in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.1% to $1.2bn by 2027. 

In October 2023, the UK Government announced a $30m investment in medical technology to relieve pressure on the NHS. The funding aimed to encourage the adoption of technologies, including virtual wards for remote patient care and wearable devices for monitoring chronic conditions from the comfort of one’s home. 

The smart grant is for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovations, according to Naq’s CEO Nadia Kadhim.

“We’re delighted to be awarded this Smart Grant from Innovate UK. It will allow us to further streamline the compliance process for these organisations, allowing both the NHS and its suppliers to spend less time on compliance, whilst also tightening the resilience of the NHS supply chain,” added Kadhim.