Welcome to the Health Matters’ case studies series, where we will be speaking to the business leaders who have successfully used our programme to take their product or service to new heights in the health and care sectors.
In this blog, we catch up with CEO Bernard Ross from Sky Medical Technology (Sky). Founded in 2007, Sky is a medical technology (MedTech) company that aims to transform how healthcare is delivered. The journey began with the development of the OnPulse™ technology and its application into the geko™ device.
The geko™ device helps address a range of medical disorders, from complications related to swelling after surgery, the reduction in length of stay following kidney transplant, the closure of hard-to-heal wounds and the prevention of life-threatening blood clots.
How did your company find out about the Health Matters programme?
Being based at Sci-Tech Daresbury means we are very familiar with the work of the Innovation Agency as it is also based there. However, it was through the HealthTec Cluster that we were made aware of the benefits of the LCR Health Matters programme.
What challenges was your company facing prior to receiving support? What do you think the main barriers are for using emerging technology?
Medical device businesses invariably face regulatory challenges in bringing a new product to market. At Sky, there is an in-house regulatory and compliance function that allows effective drafting of regulatory and product registration submissions, aligned to post-market compliance and gaining the critical U.S. FDA 510(k) clearances we have won, as well as NICE guidance for our focus application areas.
A second challenge involves generating a business case for adoption. Importantly this reflects the clinical benefits of the product but also its economic benefits to healthcare services. Sky has created a powerful business case for adoption based on positive outcomes across clinical and economic measures for our focus application areas.
Thinking innovation is in nobody’s job description is another generic barrier. If technology implementation were, however, made ‘everybody’s job’, it would not be anyone’s responsibility as specific decision-making rights have to be delegated. Our clinical champion model does at least help overcome this to an extent but does not solve adoption replication across other trusts.
To this end, we work with clinical partners to develop “value propositions”. In partnership we generate therapy area clinical data and health economics that can be shared across the NHS.
In recognising the challenges companies like ours face in terms of accessing individual NHS trusts, the government has instituted Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) to help with access.
What support did your company receive and how was it delivered?
The Innovation Agency, via the Health Matters programme, has worked with us and supported us with market access to the NHS trusts. Through the programme we have also made strategic connections and been introduced to organisations such as the Cheshire and Merseyside stroke network.
What new activity was your company able to do as a result of the support?
We are planning to engage with Cheshire and Merseyside stroke network around our geko™ device.
We have recently submitted a bid for SBRI Healthcare – Competition 18 – Stroke and Technology – supported by the Health Matters programme.
What impact did the support have?
During COVID we received a couple of orders from The NHS Supply Chain for Nightingale centres. The help with market access from the programme meant that we had been put on a national database of suppliers who could support COVID by the Innovation Agency.
What are your company’s plans as a result of this support?
To remain at the forefront of vibrant technology but equally to be able to articulate the challenges of working in the MedTech industry in driving innovation adoption for better patient outcomes.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Would you recommend the programme to other SMEs?
We think the Health Matters programme is a useful resource and would recommend the programme to companies that are new to the health and social care sector, but there is also value to those companies that have been working in this area for a while but want to expand on their network of contacts.
The Health Matters programme was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to support local businesses, with innovative solutions, to access the health and care markets.
By providing bespoke, one-on-one assistance, we help businesses hone their products and services. Through real-world validation we demonstrate their practical and commercial benefits.