‘Innovation’ remains a popular buzzword, liberally sprinkled across pages of national strategy, with digital technology touted as key to transforming healthcare.

However, time- and resource-constrained NHS staff often feel bombarded by people trying to sell them ‘solutions’ to problems that aren’t their priority, and in language that does not resonate. 

 

How can we overcome this paradox to achieve transformation? 


 

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) is a tangible example of how carefully selected innovations are being put into practice for patient and NHS benefit.

‘Innovation’ is a popular buzzword, liberally sprinkled throughout national strategy, with digital tech as the key.

From the IT platform empowering patients to make decisions about their end-of-life care, to a personalised model which integrates a trained police officer into mental health teams to support those struggling with complex disorders. Other successful products include the digital service, which enables patients to confirm and change their hospital bookings (thereby cutting waiting lists); a free epilepsy risk-management app, supporting people to manage their condition; the device that’s preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia - a leading cause of death in Intensive Care Units; and a fun-to-use app for kids, tackling the epidemic of tooth decay in children. All 26 evidence-based innovations supported by the NIA are demonstrating a very real impact; transforming the health and care landscape as we know it.

 
  • IT platform empowering patients to make their own end-of-life decisions
  • A device that prevents ventilator-associated pneumonia
  • A free, epilepsy risk-management app
  • Digital tools enabling patients to confirm and change their hospital bookings
  • A fun app tackling tooth decay in children
 

Since the NIA launched in July 2015, over 900 additional NHS Providers and Commissioners are now using NIA innovations, 61 new jobs have been created, 22 awards won, and 13 innovations are now selling internationally. Conservative estimates highlighted within an independent evaluation, suggest that savings to the UK’s health and social care system generated by NIA innovations amount to over £12million per year.

Transforming health and healthcare necessitates a collaboration that combines the experience and expertise of patients, carers, NHS staff, researchers and entrepreneurs. Importantly, it requires a willingness to learn together, share knowledge about innovation use, and to take managed risks for a common purpose.

Only then can we truly create the culture and conditions necessary for innovation to spread widely; ensuring a sustainable NHS and transforming health and healthcare for generations to come.