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“The IP masterclass could not have come at a better time for Link-ages”

“The IP masterclass could not have come at a better time for Link-ages”

Fiona Willis, Founder/Director of digital communication start-up, Link-ages talks us through her experience on the Health and Life Sciences Masterclass programme.

According to Ofcom (2022), 26% of people aged over 75 don’t know how to use the internet. In an increasingly digital world, this presents real-life challenges for individuals and communities without those digital skills. But Link-ages, an innovative communication platform, which recently underwent trials in Social Housing, seeks to address this by changing how people feel about using digital solutions.

We have to make digital desirable

“Our mission at Link-ages is to make digital acceptable – not just accessible and inclusive but to help our communities see the value in it. Recently, the NHS started introducing the concept of virtual wards, where people can receive the same care that they would in a hospital setting, but in the comfort of their own homes. They’re sent home with a kit that measures readings like heart rate, and skin temperature and are monitored remotely by the team at the hospital. Our research has suggested that over time, this style of care will become more prominent as the NHS becomes more digitally driven.”

“The sad reality is that if you’re not digital, those inequalities in the health and social care setting are just going to get bigger and bigger. So, our challenge with Link-ages is to help the older and more vulnerable people in society see the benefits of technology and make it something they want, not something that’s been imposed upon them.”

“We created a platform, which has an accessible interface, delivered on a tablet, which could be overseen and set up by another family member (using a smartphone) to support digital engagement, and also keep inexperienced users safe. Individuals are kept up to date with upcoming appointments, calendar notifications and reminders, whilst being able to keep in touch with loved ones through one simple system.”


Nailing our IP now is key for future growth  

“What first attracted us to the masterclasses was the IP workshop, because it came along at exactly the right time. We’ve recently developed a digital TV intervention which extends our impact on digital acceptability by including hardware as well as our original software platform. Several universities have expressed an interest in working with us to develop this technology further, so sorting our intellectual property is absolutely essential.”

Main takeaways from the Health and Life Sciences programme

“The masterclasses provide a great foundation to build your business on. As a digital care provider, it’s quite tricky to get a product into the NHS. However, through the NHS Ecosystem and Business Strategy session, we were able to identify new potential routes to demonstrate the value of Link-ages to the NHS, and that is something we can run with moving forward.”

“It was also fantastic to be based out of Porton Science Park for the sessions. You’re able to drill down into the very specific details that are relevant to your business, and you’re able to meet people face-to-face.”

“The one-to-one IP session, in particular, was great because we were able to explore Link-ages specific IP challenge further. From just that additional hour, we were able to shape our next steps in terms of developing our IP strategy which is hugely beneficial!”

“I must say that the mentors were superb. As an SME owner, my income has to fund my business, so you don’t want to be taking time out of the working day to do something a bit wishy-washy. You want to do something that’s really intensive and leaves you walking away buzzing with new ideas and strategies. And that’s what’s been brilliant about the programme – everything they talk about is so specific and focused on the health aspect that you do walk away with eyes on stalks!”


About SETsquared’s Health and Life Sciences Masterclasses

The Health and Life Sciences Masterclasses are a fully-funded workshop series aimed to help innovative health and life science organisations grow and develop. Based online and at Porton Science Park in Salisbury, this combination places companies at the heart of this vital sector, with experienced mentors on hand to guide them through invaluable topics including IP, grant funding and more.

Discover how to navigate the NHS as a business opportunity at our next session on 24 April.

Apply for the Health and Life Sciences Masterclasses today


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