On 4th and 5th of April the first of nine Exchange of Experience and Peer Evaluation (EEPE)  events took place in Liverpool.

An EEPE event focuses on the host region’s strategies, policy framework and ecosystem for scaling up smart health and care solutions and its methods, resources, track record, plans, results and experiences across the innovation cycle. EEPE comprises site visits, presentations and interactive and structured peer evaluation session where visiting delegates will provide structured feedback to the host.

A more sustainable innovative NHS

The surroundings of the Museum of Liverpool by the waterfront illustrated very well the development of the old regional health care system. The Liverpool Region has managed to incorporate and prioritize new and innovative health care solutions in the old health care system NHS, and has developed a more sustainable innovative NHS. This development was the main theme of the first EEPE.

Day 1 focused on the host region’s strategy and policy context, ecosystem development and profile. The afternoon sessions highlighted the host region’s “Living lab” Infrastructure and its co-creation, real world testing and validation process together with concrete exemplars of smart health and care solutions emerging from it. 

Hereamong, cognitive computing and gaming apps at Damibu in the entrepreneurial environment in The Baltic Triangle Liverpool. Different companies presented the interface and different features in a couple of assisted living apps.

Damibu presented ‘The catch’ app, developed to help new mothers in the first few months of the baby’s life. Participants were also presented to the ‘Chill Panda’ app, by developers Ontega, which is designed to help people to better understand what makes them feel stressed and teach them how to relax. For instance, the Chill Panda uses the camera on your mobile phone to capture your heartbeats and thereby gives you some exercises to help you relax.

The ITHACA team also visited the children’s hospital Alder Hey and its innovation hub. Here the 3D LifePrints presented 3D-printed human organs made for practice, and they told about the benefits of being based in an innovation hub. Physicians and nurses use these organs to simulate operations to children and their parents, and for practice.

The route to market

On day 2 participants focused on the route to Market and Scaling Up, Public Procurement and Consumer Market stages of the innovation cycle.  

The ITHACA partners and their experts visited Liverpool Innovation Park, where there was time to visit the NHS' data Centre and learn about big data and the ‘infrastructure’ of the NHS.

Delegates also visited a call centre where nurses help people straight away and thereby bring down admissions. Furthermore, the participants tried person-centered design in real life. The person-centered design focuses on understanding a problem by understanding the end user.

Lastly, Innovative Marketplace emerged and different kinds of healthcare technology for elderly were presented.

Evaluation time

During the final afternoon peer evaluators prepared and presented their feedback to the host region. The level of experience and knowledge of delegates was very high and led to high qualitative peer review with useful recommendations and learning benefits for all partners.

The peer evaluation was carried out in groups and at the end each group evaluated on what the strengths and weaknesses, good practices, lessons learned and implications, recommendations for host region and other ITHACA regions.

The visiting delegation was impressed with the number of stakeholders in the ecosystem, the professional presentations and the many initiatives in Liverpool. Liverpool is a great example of how political decision makers and various other stakeholders should prepare a comprehensive plan for improving the well-being and health of the population. 

The experts also provided Liverpool with a few recommendations. These are the three main takeaways:

  • The Liverpool region should enhance the support available to SMEs to help them export their solutions more effectively. As some innovations are oriented towards the NHS, which also provides funding, this does not always create incentives for the companies to seek markets elsewhere or overseas. 
  • Liverpool should further improve the collaboration with research and education organisations within the regional ecosystem, realising a collective approach towards monitoring of impact, in order to demonstrate the impact of innovative smart health solutions for different stakeholders. 
  • The demonstration of impact is also important to convince others within the European market to reach large scale deployment. Increased collaboration on impact monitoring and research and development of relevant curricula is important to support and anticipate the transition to a labour market that can supply sufficient and qualified professionals with digital skills in the future.