Embracing technology for health benefits

The quality of care provided to patients and the wider population is – in nearly every case – dependent on technology, from the digital thermometer or patient records to robotic surgery.

Taking advantage of the latest technology is crucial to improving both health outcomes and the sustainability of the health and social care system.

There is a challenge for health and social care staff to see what technologies are available. Similarly, there’s a challenge for product developers (industry) to know what’s needed. We tackle that problem in a number of ways which include offering our own services as well as supporting national programmes such as the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare and the NHS Innovation Accelerator.

Why is it so important?

The Five Year Forward View (5YFV) published by NHS England says the NHS needs to make £22billion of efficiency savings by 2020/21. The NHS must focus on opportunities which contribute most to the 5YFV.

How we do this

Our role is respond to a wide range of patient and population health system needs with a range of technologies. We promote the opportunity – the technology or capability – and not a specific product or company.

When considering support for a company we will assess criteria including the following:

  • Does the technology address a priority issue?
  • Is the value proposition clear?
  • How close is the product or service to market?
  • Is the competition sufficiently differentiated?
  • Are the requirements for evidence and evaluation being addressed?
  • Have the implementation challenges been assessed?
  • How credible is the business behind the technology?

We focus on these areas because the contracting and payment mechanisms in the NHS can prevent the adoption of new technology. This is often overlooked by those wishing to sell products to the NHS.

What happens next?

If you wish to make us aware of your high-value market-ready product, you can contact our commercial and innovation team for an initial discussion. After initial assessment, we may provide an introduction or signposting to an expert, relevant networks or events, or we may invite the applicant to an ‘innovation surgery’ to discuss the value proposition.

Depending on the outcome of the ‘innovation surgery’ we may recommend consideration of a number of aspects of commercialisation, as reflected in the Innovation Pathway.