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Wales - Digital Health Ecosystem Wales is ECHAlliance Ecosystem of the Month – April

Wales – Digital Health Ecosystem Wales is ECHAlliance Ecosystem of the Month – April
Ecosystems
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For this month of April we are really excited to be able to feature the Digital Health Ecosystem Wales as our Ecosystem of the Month. Andy Bleaden, Communities Director, says: “The Digital Health Ecosystem Wales are particularly strong in accelerating the adoption of digital healthcare and convening events to exchange best practices. In the recent years, their Accelerate Programme allowed them to work with partners to provide skills, knowledge and expertise and promote the adoption of digital health solutions in Wales and they are now looking forward to getting involved in Horizon Europe programmes.”

What is the approximate stakeholder breakdown of your ecosystem?

Our audience is diverse and encompasses a wide range of individuals, including industry professionals, clinicians, policy makers, academics, innovators, and funders. This group represents not only Wales and the UK, but also extends to international regions.

Who are the top 3 champions from your Ecosystem?

The Ecosystem in Wales collaborates closely with digital leaders, influencers and the Welsh Government to help understand digital challenges and priorities. We’ve recently focused on supporting impactful digital transformation initiatives, especially those linked to remote monitoring and providing care within the community.

We also work closely with the digital and transformation leads of each Health Board, as well as with Digital Health and Care Wales. This ensures that our projects address the fundamental challenges and priorities of the Health and Social Care sector in Wales.

What EU funding/collaboration are you involved with, or would you like to be part of?

Our Accelerate programme ran from 2018 to 2022 and was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. We worked with our partners to provide vital skills, knowledge and expertise in areas like healthcare provisioning and economic development, biomedical research and medical device technology to innovators from many different backgrounds. We aimed to help the development and adoption of products and solutions that benefit patients, improve NHS Wales, and boost the Welsh economy. Since the programme’s conclusion, we’re looking for further funding to support our work in this area.

We work closely with the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) to make sure that our audience knows about relevant Welsh Government and European funding opportunities, and to cultivate interest in participating in European funding.

Our NHS health board stakeholders in Wales are particularly interested in getting involved in the Horizon Europe programme. We would welcome the opportunity to connect with organisations looking for clinical testbeds for their Horizon Europe applications.  

What are the key priorities and themes for your ecosystem?

Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW) aims to accelerate the adoption of digital healthcare technologies in NHS and Social Care in Wales. We connect people, delivery, and systems across Wales.

We achieve this by bringing together stakeholders from the digital health community to address obstacles and hurdles preventing adoption and implementation. We collaborate with partners and sources of support to connect projects and initiatives.

We also convene the digital health community through activities like events, social media, and online platforms. These gatherings serve to showcase best practices, pilot new approaches and systems, and objectively evaluate where the most significant impact can be made. We then share this valuable information across Wales and more widely through channels such as the ECHAlliance.

Watch the video of our recent Big Data Event here.

What is your primary strength as an ecosystem?

With a population of just over 3.1 million people, Wales is a relatively small country with seven health boards and three trusts. Despite our small size, we’ve created an integrated digital infrastructure that is both efficient and adaptable. Our close-knit culture and compact community have played a significant role in cultivating a highly committed and engaged digital health community comprising of clinicians, academics, and industry experts.

Who are your clinical champions either hospitals, clinicians, specialties?

Digital Health Ecosystem Wales works with NHS and Social Care organisations and staff all of Wales incorporating specialists, hospital, primary, mental health and community care.

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