Stephen Bryant and Sarah Bruce have launched London-based Silver Buck with the aim of helping health IT businesses into the market, and encouraging greater adoption of high-level tech across the NHS and other health providers.
"Health IT is big on the political agenda, with the UK government incentivising a paperless NHS by 2020 and the better sharing of best practice," said Bruce, former European head of media and marketing for HIMSS.
"There is a drive for better comms in the NHS and Silver Buck has been established following a growing need by the NHS IT supplier community to better get the right message to the right people and in turn spread the wider uptake of tech across the NHS.
"It is about making sure that innovation is spread across the NHS and not kept in silos."
The health IT market in Western Europe is forecast to grow to £10.7 billion in 2021 with the NHS in the UK making up more than a third of that.
Bruce added: "We’ve identified a significant gap in our industry for a specialist health IT agency that can move with ever changing PR and marketing landscape.
"We are aiming to bridge the gap between health PR and tech PR and be more disruptive and creative in how we approach projects."
Silver Buck, which is privately funded, is already working with major organisations including IBM Watson Health and the NHS, and plans to work with new health IT start-ups and international businesses to help give them a strong route to market.
Co-founder Bryant, the former managing director of HIMSS Europe and HIMSS UK, said: "There are huge opportunities in the health IT space currently, as the landscape has never looked so vibrant."
He added that initiatives like NHS England’s Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) scheme, which allocates funding to digitally advanced health trusts and providers, the Digital Academy and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) "show clearly that the NHS is committed to sharing its learnings, failures and successes".
Bruce and Bryant will head the agency, working with a PR specialist, a digital marketing specialist and a team of advisors from within the healthcare industry.
Jon Hoeksma, CEO of Digital Health and Richard Corbridge, chief digital information officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, are among the first of the agency’s advisors.
Corbridge said: "Promoting understanding is one of the first stages to adopting what digital in healthcare can bring to the delivery of safe and efficient health systems. Finding creative and innovative approaches is instrumental in how we can promote what is still a mystical phrase – digital health."