Who are we?
DHACA is an association dedicated to driving innovation in the Health and Social Care sector. We support a range of organisations, including SMEs, to scale innovation within the United Kingdom, with the goal of improving patient care. We do this through programmes of support for Digital Health & Care providers, including individual advice from commercial regulation experts, guidance on routes to markets, and fund-raising support.
What is the role of DHACA?
DHACA was established in 2013, and has since become the leading voice of Digital Health innovation in the UK, acting as the policy-level representatives for smaller Digital Health providers.
Today, DHACA acts on behalf of over 500 leading organisations in the Digital Health and Care sector. DHACA delivers value to its members through:
- Promoting innovation with Key Opinion Leaders on behalf of members
- Consulting with, and responding on behalf of our members on national and local policy
- Interpreting and distributing all relevant commercial and regulatory policy to all members, in the fast-paced world of Digital Health
- Accelerating the adoption of innovation through consultancy support
What difference is DHACA making?
Through DHACA’s expertise, we have worked closely with The Department of Health and the Crown Commercial Service to identify the best means of procuring Digital Health services, recognising that most providers are small SMEs. Through our involvement in the creation of this framework, we are able to support providers in overcoming NHS procurement barriers.
DHACA is regularly consulted by the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE), Medicines & healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and The Department of Health & Social Care in the formation of policy documents. This has included being the representative of Digital Health in the Accelerated Access Review (AAR), as well as the creation of EU app assessment guidelines. Through this policy-level influencing, DHACA is dedicated to creating a clear structure for clinically proven innovation to improve the lives of as many patients as possible.
To join our network of innovators, sign up for free here.
The Digital Health and Care Alliance – DHACA is an independent, non-profit, member-led organisation that was established in 2013 with financial support from Innovate UK to promote networking and interoperability amongst companies in the digital health and care area, and to provide continuity and sustainability from the lessons learnt from Innovate UK’s investments at the time.
From the start we decided that as our principal market was likely to be smaller SMEs, we should initially aim to make all our events free, so we began running free workshops: DHACA Days, our most popular early activity. As our start-up funding wound down, we were able to obtain sponsorship for events and began to make a small charge to subsidise other activities and encourage attendance.
DHACA is run by a CEO and Managing Director, currently supported by three Directors. We are keen to co-opt appropriate members on to the Board and look forward to the day when volunteers are so numerous that we need to hold elections.
Since establishment, DHACA has remained free to join; membership has settled at about 850 individuals. These are principally founders and directors of small digital health SMEs. We also have smaller groups of NHS digital champions, service providers, patient representatives, regulatory bodies, trade bodies and small consultancies.
Our focus is now very much on supporting our members with their growth and expansion plans. We aim to further the cause of digital health and care systems in the UK and Europe. With this in mind, we:
- organise regular sessions to keep members updated on relevant developments
- provide mentoring and matchmaking services to members
- represent digital health SMEs to Government
- disseminate useful information
As the Covid-19 pandemic struck, we were preparing to run our 18th DHACA day – these are day long events addressed by leading public and private industry presenters to keep members well informed and include ample networking time. Since then, by the summer break in 2021, we will have run 23 webinars. These are essentially shorter versions of DHACA Day topics, with rather less opportunity to network, though recorded for later catch-up.
Another popular DHACA feature is our newsletters. We aim to produce about three per month, both promoting our events, and disseminating important news to members. The statistics show very high opening rates and “clicks” so we believe they are well read and provide a valuable resource for members.
We are currently sponsored by the AHSN Network to run the webinars and by Brown Rudnick (lawyers) to hold DHACA Days in London. We intend to continue with both; however we are also looking to generate additional funds to provide an enhanced service to members.
A particular focus area is regulation of medical devices and data privacy. This is becoming increasingly complex, so members need early guidance on the likely pitfalls to avoid. We do advise members though that they should always consult appropriately qualified legal experts before taking significant decisions on such matters.