Health start-up Oslr has repurposed their medical teaching app for hospital doctors to now train social care workers in coronavirus protection measures with support from the Enterprise Europe Network.
The company was founded in 2015 by doctors frustrated at being unable to arrange essential bedside teaching. The goal was originally to link teachers with students, promote digital learning and collect feedback for portfolios. The team, led by CEO Dr Adam Pennycuick, a clinical research fellow at UCL, started working with EEN in 2018 and with support from their adviser won an Innovate UK Digital Health Technology Catalyst grant of £68,636 in May 2019.
The company began trialling the latest version of the platform through a feasibility and prototyping study in collaboration with University College Hospital, Guy's and St Thomas' Trust and the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. However, with the emergence of Covid-19, these hospital pilots were halted as face-to-face teaching was suspended and resources at the hospitals diverted to the pandemic response.
Responding to the current health crisis
With the guidance of their EEN business adviser, Oslr decided to adjust their platform to the current health crisis and applied for and won a £50,000 grant from Innovate UK's Fast Start competition, part of £750 million made available by the government to support the UK's most research-intensive businesses during and following the pandemic. The call received an unprecedented 8,500 applications, with over 800 start-ups awarded a share of £40 million.
The grant has enabled the company to focus on training social care workers in coronavirus protection measures, with Dr Adam Pennycuick saying:
"Social care workers are facing an unprecedented challenge to continuously learn emerging practices to protect both themselves, their family and the people they care for during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. With restrictions halting face-to-face training, there’s a clear requirement for remote training and we believe our validated digital health platform could help in delivering and capturing that training."
The technology is being used to accelerate social care worker training to more efficiently protect people at risk of the virus. COO Alan Pooley comments:
"We looked at numerous options with the support of our EEN adviser, but social care seemed the most pressing need and the closest fit to our technology platform ... There are more beds in care homes than in hospitals, yet the staff generally have limited options for professional development, whilst the social work challenge to improve vulnerable people’s lives has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
"We want to help in delivering and capturing training through our dedicated digital health platform. EEN support has been fundamental in helping us to develop Oslr. As well as their extensive network of connections and partners, they’ve provided essential support in helping us match and put together grant applications, which need to demonstrate a high level of credibility, capability and capacity to have any chance of success."
Supprting businesses through Covid-19
The Enterprise Europe Network is supporting businesses affected by Covid-19 to understand how to navigate the crisis and, where applicable, pivot their business proposition to tackle emerging societal or industry needs.
Find out how we're supporting businesses at this time and contact us if you think you're eligible for help.
EEN support has been fundamental in helping us to develop Oslr"
COO Alan Pooley