On 23 March 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (“DHSC”) issued a plea to technology companies to come up with digital support solutions for COVID-19.  The DHSC is making £500,000 available, with funding of up to £25,000 per company.  The challenge, named TechForce19, aims to increase community support for the elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating.

This will be of interest to any innovative companies able to develop and deploy technology in one of TechForce19’s three priority areas:

  1. remote social care;
  2. optimising staffing in care and volunteering sectors; and
  3. mental health.

The proposed digital solutions should aim to address community problems, not clinical problems, and should not require integration with NHS systems.  The technology may focus on, for example, delivery, recruitment and management of services to facilitate and ease pressure on one or more of the three priority areas during COVID-19.

TechForce19 has been launched by NHSx, the joint organisation for the digital transformation of the UK health and care system, which brings together the DHSC, NHS England and NHS Improvement.  PUBLIC, a GovTech venture firm, will manage TechForce19 for no profit.

Interested companies can apply here.

Please note that developing these digital support solutions will likely raise a myriad of regulatory, privacy and commercial issues.  Covington’s Digital Health team is here to provide support and would be happy to speak with any companies who wish to bring innovative and essential products to the market at this important time.