The journey of innovation in the NHS

NHS computer

A report from The King’s Fund has charted the process that eight innovations have gone through from creation to widespread use.

From new communication technologies for patients with long-term conditions, to new checklists for busy A&Es, the report commissioned on behalf of the academic health science (AHSN) networks details the highs and lows of an innovator’s journey through the NHS and the significant barriers that stand in innovators’ paths. The case studies reveal common themes:

  • Providers need to be able to select and tailor innovations that deliver the greatest value given local challenges and work in the local context
  • Fragmentation of NHS services remains a barrier to adoption and spread of innovation, making it harder to develop shared approaches and transmit learning across sites
  • New innovations may appear simple to introduce but can have a domino effect – triggering a series of changes to diagnosis and treatment, revealing new patient needs and resulting in big changes to staff and patient roles. That’s why staff need time and resources to implement them
  • As long as the NHS sets aside less than 0.1% of available resources for the adoption and spread of innovation, a small fraction of the funds available for innovation itself, the NHS’s operating units will struggle to adopt large numbers of innovations and rapidly improve productivity.

The report has been published ahead of an event in March supporting our region’s innovators. The ‘Marketing your innovation’ session will run on the morning of Friday, 16th March, and will give delegates a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand from a selection of experienced speakers from an NHS background and public/private sectors who will share their knowledge, hints, tips and the support available. Refreshments and lunch will be provided; book your ticket here.

England’s 15 AHSNs bring together the NHS, social care, public health, academic, voluntary and industry organisations to support the spread of innovation throughout the NHS and care. During their first licence (since 2013) they have spread over 200 innovations through 11,000 locations, and leveraging £330 million investment to improve health and support the NHS, social care and industry innovators.

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