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Collaborate to innovate – Bringing People, Industry and Healthcare into the mix

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It seems clear to me that we are entering into a new era where health service providers and businesses will need to develop new ways of working together and the words collaboration, innovation and co-creation will become absolutely central to our new vocabulary. It is also clear that patients will not only need to be at the centre of care but they, and those that care for them, will need to become active participants rather than passive receivers in their own care. Therefore active public participation will also form part of balancing any equation that leads to sustainable change.

Since I have reluctantly and unwillingly been subjected to watching the ‘Great British Bake’ off by my family I might as well use the analogy to draw a comparison that hopefully will resonate with some of you out there. If we mix the willingness and need of the healthcare systems to change, add the ingenuity and resources of companies, sprinkle in some resources to bind this together, bake it for the right amount of time and top it off with different flavours that people like, well we might just about have a recipe for success which we can replicate.

More seriously at the West of England Academic Health Science Network we have seen at first hand a real desire between the healthcare and private sectors ‘to do business’ together and a willingness of patients and the public to engage, which is why we have put significant time and effort into establishing ways to enhance collaboration.

That’s why to date we have connected 63 companies wanting to work with our healthcare community and facilitated £6m in funding for joint development of innovative solutions between our health service providers and industry. We’ve also provided networking opportunities for 500 plus healthcare and business delegates at our range of events; developed a unique register of 435 medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies operating across our health and social care community; and established an electronic partnering system which has resulted in 100 plus new introductions being arranged between interested parties.

Furthermore we are currently supporting 16 businesses, 30 plus health and social care providers, and four Universities and research bodies in 14 live collaborative projects in the West of England. These are tackling some key healthcare challenges in areas such as atrial fibrillation-related strokes, medicines adherence, independent living, mental health, trauma and diabetes.

Significantly, we have also broadcast this through media channels potentially reaching over half a million citizens in the West of England and had over 100 members of the public submit ideas and participate in co-creation workshops for developing new products with businesses through our design together live better campaign.

Together these developments demonstrate the success of and potential for collaboration and ultimately present an all win situation for businesses, our health and social care providers and service users.


Posted on October 8, 2015 by Lars Sundstrom, Director of Enterprise at West of England AHSN

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