eHealth Cluster is the only SME-led eHealth Cluster in the UK. It allows public sector health/care collaborate effectively with local SMEs.
The growth in smart health/care provides great opportunities for all. Developing and deploying innovative products and services is complex, cuts across different sectors and in order to be successful, needs to involve many different types of organisation.
To support the growth in smart health/care we need new ways of working together, making the most of the fantastic resources and expertise we have here in the Liverpool City Region – and that’s where the LCR eHealth Cluster comes in. The eHealth Cluster Ltd is the only SME-led health/care Cluster in the UK. It delivers a new model for providing practical support to both product and service organisations through collaborative Cluster working.
Within the Cluster, we have created an environment where innovative solutions are developed across sectors. As an impartial broker, we facilitate collaboration between technology developers and the frontline deliverers of social care, and promote our members at events and conferences, putting them in front of the people who can make a difference to their business.
By forming a better understanding of the problems facing health/care we can develop fresh and sustainable solutions. We have identified 7 categories of membership. It is crucial that we have a balance of stakeholders from all of these categories: i Technology SMEs and Individuals ii Public bodies/professionals iii academic/research iv health/care v support vi supply chain vii other emerging
Initially financed by NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group & Liverpool Vision (c€10k pa), which funded part-time staff to enable development of a portfolio of project consultancy activity. Exploration is underway with Cluster members in relation to a fee structure to provide regular income.
Evidence of success
eHealth Cluster successfully secured 4 large consultancy contracts to manage smart health/care projects across Liverpool City Region. These contracts total c€300k which has enabled independent development of the Cluster which now has over 400 organisations/individual engaged across the following categories:
• Technology SMEs
• Public bodies
• Health Care Providers
• Support Functions
• Supply Chain
• Emerging industry
• Large number of disparate organisations.
• Under-appreciation of contribution made by other sectors.
• Funding streams that encourage a narrow focus within organisations.
• Under-recognition of the need for impartial, constructive collaboration.
• Limited R&D member capacity to engage
Potential for learning or transfer
Liverpool City Region eHealth Cluster provides an example of sustainable, smart health/care quadruple+ helix. The Cluster is not a project but rather a commercially sustainable company that is enabling the development and testing of smart solutions to support active and healthy living across a Region.
The Cluster is innovative as:
o it is SME led and impartial.
o has developed based on the needs of SMEs (Other eHealth Clusters tend to be Academic or Heath Sector led).
o each category of membership is equal.
The Cluster is based on the resources and skills we have here in the Liverpool City Region so cannot be directly transferred to other areas. However, the process of developing the cluster could be, therefore we could held to develop and grow clusters in other areas but they may look slightly different to ours, based on the local resources.