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Karim Mahmoud


17th December 2023


Rapid Pitch Open Challenge - Occupational Therapy Digital Assessment & Triage to support community care

There is an opportunity to innovate how Occupational Therapy (OT) services are delivered using digital technology to support and enable new models of community-based care.


There is an opportunity to innovate how Occupational Therapy (OT) services are delivered using digital technology to support and enable new models of community-based care. OT services face a number of challenges in ‘assessing’ and ‘triaging’ citizens who are experiencing a loss of functional ability – usually due to frailty or disability which is expected to last for more than six months. 

Many OT services have seen increases in referral rates in recent years with many citizens presenting with complex needs and in parallel, workforce capacity in this specialised field has been reduced.  Consequently, in many OT services, resources are directed to those triaged with an urgent or substantial need, contributing to a backlog of ‘medium’ and ‘low priority’ referral allocations, with some currently waiting up to 2 years for an assessment.   

Why this challenge matters

The circumstances mentioned above result in a range of challenges. 

From a service provider perspective challenges include: 

  • Variable quality of referrals received, with significant time spent seeking further information  
  • Inappropriate referrals received, with time taken up redirecting citizens to other services 
  • Increased referral rate and complexity of needs  
  • Significant qualified OT time being spent triaging and prioritising referrals  
  • Growing waiting lists and excessive waiting times particularly for moderate and low priority referrals and increased time fielding enquiries from those seeking updates 
  • Preventable functional loss or falls due to waiting time for basic equipment,  
  • Limited and out of date information on public facing channels e.g., websites. 

From a service user perspective challenges include: 

  • Length of wait for assessment 
  • Difficulty getting through on the access team phone number
  • Frequent repetition of medical and social history
  • Lack of transparency around OT service criteria for equipment and adaptations 
  • Lack of verified self-management/sign posting information  
  • Length of time for housing adaptations 

What we’re looking for

We are interested in ground breaking ideas, technologies, solutions or approaches that address one or more of the challenge areas above. If your organisation has a solution to some or all of the challenge areas please submit a RapidPitch. If you think your solution addresses an Occupational Therapy need or challenge that has not been listed above, then this may also be of interest.

RapidPitch Overview

We are conducting a market review and this RapidPitch enables any organisation from across the private, public, academic and third sectors to submit their contribution. We are interested in identifying solutions and understanding the current ‘art of the possible’. You may be offered the opportunity to showcase your solution(s) to stakeholders (including clinical and service staff, policymakers, other industry players), invited to collaborate, or sign-posted to other support and funding opportunities.

About DHI

DHI’s goal is to support innovation in digital health & care through collaboration and partnership. Meet our team and learn how to collaborate with us at 

How to submit your challenge

Use this form: 


Can I submit supporting documents (for example a video) as part of my application?

  • You will have the opportunity to submit supporting materials such as non-confidential slide decks, research papers, and videos as part of your application. You may submit a video along with your typed responses. Please be mindful of duration, suggested no more than 5 minutes. Please make sure that you do not submit any information that is non-proprietary or owned by a third party.

Can I submit confidential information?

  • Only non-confidential information should be submitted and anything you submit will be treated as non-confidential.

What happens with IP (Intellectual Property)?

  • As this is a no strings attached arrangement, DHI does not acquire any IP. We are interested in identifying solutions and understanding the current art of the possible.

What is the specific criteria?

  • Your solution should be in existence, i.e. on the market, or in testing, and manifestable as a minimum viable product (MVP).

What types of ideas are you interested in?

  • Submissions should have path to commercialisation. While ideas can be early stage, we are not looking for research projects that are not pursuing a viable potential solution.

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