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Medicines Optimisation

The Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPSNI) in partnership with Technology Strategy Board, working with the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and Invest Northern Ireland (InvestNI), is launching a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition to stimulate the development of innovative technology solutions to optimise patient health and social care outcomes through improved medicines adherence.
Projects will be selected on their potential to optimise patient outcomes through improvements in the safe and effective use of prescribed medicines and concomitant reduction in medicines waste.
Medicines are the most common medical intervention within the Health and Social Care Service (HSC) and expenditure on medicines accounts for some £540m, 12% of all annual health-care spending in Northern Ireland. In primary care alone over 37 million prescription items were dispensed in 2012 at a cost of over £400m.  
Trends show that the volume and costs of prescribed medicines is increasing at around 5% each year. At the same time there is evidence that between a half and a third of medicines prescribed for long term conditions are not taken as recommended. This is known as non-adherence and can involve people taking either more or less medicines than prescribed or not taking them at all.
Non-adherence represents a health loss for the individual and an economic loss for society. Consequences include poorer than expected clinical outcomes; reduced quality of life; deterioration of health and unplanned admissions to hospital. The epidemiological evidence suggests that at least 50% of these hospital admissions are preventable.
Technology has a role to play to help improve medicines adherence. This competition is seeking to develop innovative solutions to improve medicines adherence in response to assessed needs. Taking the right medicines at the right time is a key step in the medicines management process and perhaps the most important in terms of health outcomes, assuming the appropriateness of the prescribed treatment.
This SBRI initiative presents a challenging opportunity to develop new technological solutions that will help to optimise health and social care outcomes from prescribed treatments by supporting people to take the right medicines at the right time and as prescribed.
Phase 1 of this competition will open on Monday, 3 March 2014 and the closing date for applications is 12:00 noon on Wednesday, 14 May 2014. The deadline for registration is 12:00 noon on Wednesday, 7 May 2014.
Contracts will be awarded, to those selected, in August 2014 for completion within six months. The total funding available for Phase 1 is £550k (inc. VAT). The maximum funding for any single contract in Phase 1 will be £75k (inc. VAT). Further funding may be available if Phase 1 identifies sufficiently robust and viable proposals for Phase 2.
A briefing event for businesses interested in finding out more about the competition will be held from 10:00am to 12:00 noon on Monday, 10 March 2014 in Belfast. Interested applicants should register their details at by Wednesday, 5 March 2014 to receive updated information. This email should also be used for specific questions about the challenge.
For more details on the challenge and to register and apply for the competition please visit the Technology Strategy Board website.
Status: Forthcoming
Open Date: 3rd March 2014
Registration Close Date: 12.00 noon 7th May 2014
Close Date: 12.00 noon 14th May 2014
Source: Technology Strategy Board.
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