UPDATED: U.K.'s NHS launches a series of med tech trials with Google's Verily, IBM, Philips

The United Kingdom's National Health Service sees med tech as crucial to addressing healthcare improvements. It's launched a series of 7 trials with several major technology partners designed to test several means of integrating med tech specifically into at-home care for elderly and chronic disease patients.

NHS CEO Simon Stevens

NHS CEO Simon Stevens is slated to make the announcement today as part of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The studies are designed to provide evidence to help guide how the healthcare agencies will adopt some of these med tech innovations.

"This partnership between the NHS, MSD and Verily will determine if data analysis technology can help the NHS better prevent, detect and manage disease," said Verily CEO Andy Conrad in a statement. "Our hope is to help create a more preventative model for managing long term conditions like heart failure and lung disease." Verily, previously known as Google Life Sciences, is a company under the Alphabet ($GOOG) corporate umbrella.

Each of the 7 trial sites, dubbed "test beds," will use a different combination of innovations from various large and small organizations to address a series of locally identified, healthcare issues, which include diabetic support, chronic disease management, at-home elder care, mental health support and prediction of healthcare needs.

"Over the next decade major health gains won't just come from a few 'miracle cures', but also from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, med tech and drug discovery, mobile communications, and AI computing," the NHS' Stevens told the Davos audience.

"Our new NHS Test Beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world's largest public, integrated health service."

The 7 selected NHS test bed clinical trial sites include:

  • A healthy aging trial in North East London using technology from UCLPartners, Health Analytics, Orion Health and 9 other undisclosed participants to better enable participants to manage health conditions and to remain as independent as possible. It will evaluate an online tool for people with dementia, a peer-to-peer social network app and a device that assesses fall risk and mobility.
  • A chronic condition, early intervention program with Verily, AliveCor, Merck ($MRK)--or MSD, as its known in the U.K.--and others in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale. It will use data on diseases such as heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with patients offered personalized care that incorporates additional physician support and technology access.
  • A test of two new care sites in partnership with Royal Philips ($PHG) and others including the Lancashire and Cumbria Innovation Alliance (LCIA) to support the elderly and chronic disease patients. It's designed to help them avoid hospital admissions and will include self-care education and telehealth technologies.
  • An initiative to create a better patient pathway for patients with chronic conditions via an integrated intelligence center with GE Finnamore, IBM and 13 smaller participants in the Sheffield City region.
  • A mental health digital tool test with Accenture that will offer online support, risk assessments, crisis intervention plans, and predictive analytics in Birmingham and Solihull.
  • A diabetes digital coach project led by West of England AHSN with participation from Diabetes UK and technology companies including Hewlett Packard Enterprise. It's designed to bring together wearable sensors, software and connected devices.
  • An integrated health management collaboration between Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust with unnamed health tech providers for dementia patients to improve at-home care via connected devices.

These last two are funded as part of a £40 million ($57.4 million), three-year UK research program on the Internet-of-Things.

"We hope that learning about how people use our device will support better outcomes and patient safety, which will drive adoption at scale by people that are concerned about their heart health. By getting our device into the hands of the right people, we can help save more lives across the world," AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra told FierceMedicalDevices regarding its partication in the long term care program.

- here is the NHS announcement
- and here's a take on the news from The Telegraph