A new Healthtech Strategy has been launched in West Yorkshire alongside the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership’s (WY HCP) and Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (Y&H AHSN) Innovation and Improvement Hub, in a bid to transform health and care services within the region through the early adoption of technology in healthcare and associated organisations.

The strategy, developed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is set to improve regional population health and wealth through the development of a well-aligned, innovation driven Healthtech ecosystem.

Those behind the strategy hope to attract more regional partners to support shared Healthtech programmes, events, promotion and the development of partnerships with other regions. The strategy also prioritises mapping out routes for support and navigation through the Healthtech landscape.

Cllr Pandor, Chair of the Business Economy and Innovation Committee and leader of Kirklees Council said: “This strategy outlines how the whole ecosystem will align our strategic and collaborative approaches. This will begin to reduce fragmentation and bring together the region’s universities, health and care system, LEP, Combined Authority and healthtech industry to develop an integrated healthtech innovation system in West Yorkshire.

“It positions the region as a locus of healthtech expertise that will deliver both high quality patient outcomes, alongside economic and productivity gains. The strategy sets out high-level ambitions and will be underpinned by a detailed accompanying ‘live’ and dynamic action plan owned by the Healthtech Cluster.”

Mayor Tracy Brabin launched the Healthtech strategy during an event held at The University of Huddersfield as part of West Yorkshire Innovation Festival 2022.

Having endorsed the strategy herself, she explained how together, the contributing organisations are aiming to help organisations capitalise on the exceptional regional Healthtech strengths to drive both future economic prosperity and improve health outcomes.

Tracy said: “Our region is well known for being innovative. We are a magnet for high tech skills and jobs; through this strategy, we are set to transform lives for the better.

“By working together, pursuing innovation that recognises and builds upon diversity, we have the potential to tackle health inequalities that blight the lives and opportunities of many in our region – and far beyond it.”

West Yorkshire is a nationally regarded leader in Healthtech research and development, and multiple Healthtech firms in the region have enjoyed steady growth in recent years.

The Office for Life Sciences found there are substantially more value-adding med-tech firms in the region than in any other UK Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area – over 20% more.

One example of Healthtech already adopted locally is TytoCare, a wireless handheld device that allows clinicians to perform medical examinations anywhere, for the ear, throat, lungs, heart, temperature, skin, and abdomen.

West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WYHCP) and the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (Yorkshire & Humber AHSN) are encouraging the take up of the tech across the region and so far, 14 healthcare providers have adopted TytoCare.

Also, in use locally is The Healthyio Kidney digital tool. The Minuteful Kidney test – created by Healthy.io – enables home-based urine testing, which is critical for picking up early signs of chronic kidney disease.

Since the programme started last year, 110 GP practices across West Yorkshire have rolled out the Minuteful Kidney testing service, with 11,679 at-risk patients already tested for chronic kidney disease who hadn’t previously tested within 12 months.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for WY HCP said: ‘Innovation is of critical importance to both the health and care system and the regional economy. The unique assets and opportunities that the region has at its disposal and how these will be harnessed to improve the lives of our population cannot be underestimated – working together gives us every opportunity to achieve better health and wealth’.