New Adoption and Spread Series launches

The West of England Academy are hosting a new series of five interactive online workshops each Wednesday morning from 28 April focusing on the successful adoption and spread of healthcare innovation, best practice or products.

Free to attend, and for any healthcare project team member or innovator based in the West of England, each two-hour session is standalone so you can choose individual workshops or sign up for the series.

Ideally attendees will be working on a live project and come with an improvement idea they have tested at small scale in an NHS organisation and who want to learn how to think about the skills and capabilities needed for adoption and spread.

Attendees can be in any role and level within their organisation, for example from clinical, administration or facilities.

Our academy works hard to welcome attendees from a broad range of backgrounds creating a safe and open environment for learning and sharing ideas.

Find out more about our Adoption and Spread Series and book here.

The West of England Academy offers a wide range of free resources to healthcare professionals and innovators across the region. To find out more, visit our Academy pages or email academy@weahsn.net.

AHSN Network has benefited more than 479,000 patients and generated £322.3 million inward investment for UK economy

The innovation delivery arm of the NHS, the AHSN Network, has released its Impact Report 2018-2020. The report highlights outstanding impacts achieved by AHSNs, including the West of England, and evidences how they are driving adoption and spread in healthcare innovation, transforming patient outcomes, enabling efficiencies, saving the NHS money, generating economic growth and attracting millions of pounds of investment for the country’s economy.

The report also details how AHSNs have mobilised quickly to COVID-19 to support the NHS and health and social care response.

National programmes

Commissioned by NHS England, England’s 15 AHSNs delivered seven programmes during 2018-20, developed regionally and selected for national adoption and spread, which are benefiting more than 479,000 patients: Atrial Fibrillation, Emergency Laparotomy, ESCAPE-pain, PINCER, Prevention of Cerebral Palsy in PreTerm Labour (PReCePT), Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) and Transfer of Care Around Medicines (TCAM).

Key national programme findings from the report show that 13,387 fewer patients are at risk from harm from medication errors as a result of PINCER. The Network’s atrial fibrillation work has helped prevent 11,734 strokes and saved 2,933 lives. Whilst 8,472 people with chronic joint pain have participated in ESCAPE-pain courses.

AHSNs also play a key role in supporting the NHS to adopt new, better and more effective technologies through playing a leading role in supporting the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), by operation as the local agencies to drive adoption of Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) and Rapid Uptake Products (RUPs).

Economic growth

From 2019-2020, the AHSN Network has generated almost £322.3 million inward investment for our nation, and created and / or protected over 1,000 jobs during this time.

The AHSN Network helps mobilise the value that the NHS can add as an economic asset to the UK economy. AHSNs broker access to a range of expert support and services across the health and care sectors that support NHS innovators and companies to realise the commercial and economic potential of their ideas.

The latest round of company surveys conducted by the AHSN Network show remarkable progress in the health innovation sector. Find out more about how the AHSN Network has attracted millions of pounds of investment for the country’s economy.

Patient safety

England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) have significantly contributed to the NHS Patient Safety Strategy through their work on managing deterioration, maternity and neonatal safety, and adoption and spread programmes.

PSCs play an essential role in identifying and spreading safety improvement programmes (SIPs) to create sustainable and continuous improvement in settings such as maternity units, emergency departments, mental health trusts, GP practices and care homes.

Successes include spreading the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2) to 99% of all acute hospital trusts, a 92% uptake of a discharge care bundle for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and more than 120,000 views of a series of training films developed for care home staff.

Review our regional Patient Safety programme here.

COVID-19

To support the COVID-19 response AHSNs pivoted their expertise and resources, highlighting their unique ability to be able to work with regional health systems to spread innovation, whilst collaborating across England to drive rapid transformative change across large geographies.

Key examples of AHSNs responding to the pandemic include; providing expertise to NHS regions, by embedding staff in regional COVID-19 response cells, which was equivalent to 157 full time staff. And working with NHSX and NHS Digital, AHSNs help to drive digitisation of primary care, achieving a near-total uptake of video and online consultations in two months across GP practices in England. We also published a rapid-learning report on our patient safety work, ‘Safer care during COVID-19’.

By autumn 2020, AHSNs were continuing to support the COVID-19 response whilst providing expert input to regional NHS planning around the restoration and recovery of services. Nationally, AHSNs have also been leading the NHS ‘Reset’ campaign with NHS Confederation and the Health Foundation and have been playing a key supporting role in the NHS Beneficial Changes Network, focusing on ‘locking in’ learning from the pandemic.

Find out more about how we are working with health and social care colleagues across our region to keep people safe during and after COVID-19.

Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive of Eastern AHSN said:

“We are achieving results that make a real difference for patients and service users, as well as healthcare professionals, innovators and NHS organisations. These strong foundations make us ideally placed to help all those involved in improving and innovating health and care to tackle together the challenges that lie ahead.

The AHSNs’ response to COVID-19 has highlighted how our core strengths and ways of working have proved a valued asset to our partners. AHSNs are agile and well connected organisations, and we were able to mobilise and respond to this new crisis almost overnight, providing additional support and brokering relationships across health and care, research and academia, industry and the voluntary sectors.”

New national programmes

From April 2020, AHSNs are working on three new national programmes;

  • Focus ADHD; a number of AHSNs are working with mental health trusts and community paediatric services to improve the assessment process for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) using computer-based tests (measuring attention, impulsivity and activity).
  • Early Intervention Eating Disorders; a number of AHSNs are supporting mental health teams across England to speed up diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in young people aged 16 to 25.
  • Lipid management and FH; AHSNs are scoping a national programme of work around cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention, which is anticipated to start in autumn 2020.

Review our regional work on FOCUS ADHD and Early Intervention Eating Disorders.

AHSNs continue to support national NHS initiatives such as the National Innovation Accelerator (NIA), Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) and Clinical Entrepreneurs programme and developing work on new and emerging NHS priorities such as workforce innovation.

Read the full AHSN Network Impact Report 2018-2020.  

Introducing the quality improvement (QI) winter series

The West of England Academy are hosting a series of five online workshops each Wednesday from 27 January on quality improvement (QI). Free to attend, and for any innovator or employee within healthcare, each one-hour session is standalone so you can choose individual workshops or sign up for the series.

Each workshop will be interactive, so you can apply learning in real-world scenarios. The workshops will be beneficial regardless if you are working on a specific QI project or not. If you encounter challenges in your role (or outside work), and want to consider how these can be tackled through QI, these sessions will help.

Attendees can be in any role or level within their organisation or business; for example clinical, product development, administration or facilities.

Our academy works hard to welcome attendees from a broad range of backgrounds creating a safe and open environment for learning and sharing ideas.

The West of England Academy offers a wide range of free resources to healthcare professionals and innovators across the region. To find out more, visit our Academy pages or email academy@weahsn.net.

New adoption and spread guide launched

It is estimated that across the UK, a third of healthcare improvement projects never spread beyond their particular unit, a further third are embedded across their organisation but never spread further than that, and only the final third are spread across their own and other similar organisations. Through the West of England Academy supported by our new guide, we aim to support our member organisations and innovators increase the adoption and spread of successful innovations and improvements in the health and social care sector.

quote from guide

Successfully spreading improvements and ensuring changes are sustained requires overcoming numerous challenges, such as:

  • Creating an awareness of why the change is needed
  • Ensuring those involved have a desire to support and participate in the change
  • Knowledge of how to bring about change
  • The skills and resources to bring about the change
  • Ensuring processes to sustain the change

Our new guide (which you can download here) sets out suggestions to be considered for the successful adoption and spread of innovation and improvement projects. Our Academy will also be hosting a free series of workshops focusing on adoption and spread in spring 2021.

The West of England Academy provides a range of free resources to help you gain knowledge and develop essential skills for innovative thinking and working. We promote the use of quality improvement methodologies to support delivery of better patient care. We also offer a range of resources focused on evidence and evaluation.

If you would like further guidance on this subject, please contact us through Innovation@weahsn.net.

Our Academy also hosts free workshops and learning events. Whether you are looking to learn more about: inventing, innovating, improving or realising impact, and whatever your background or healthcare experience, we hope we’ll have something suitable for you. If you have any suggestions for potential events, or know of any training that we can share then please contact Academy@weahsn.net and let us know.

Applications for the NHS Innovation Accelerator are now open!

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) – an NHS England initiative supported by England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and hosted at UCLPartners – has launched its call for applications representing high impact, evidence-based innovations. Successful applicants will become 2021 NIA Fellows.

The call is open to local, national and international healthcare innovations supported by passionate individuals from any background, including SMEs, clinicians, charity/third sector and academics.

In alignment with the current NHS priorities of COVID-19 Reset and Recovery, innovations put forward this year must address at least one of the following themes:

  • NHS response to COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Supporting the workforce

The application period is open until 16 October 2020 at midnight.

This list of Frequently Asked Questions explains the NIA in more detail, who can apply, the selection process, what support an NIA Fellow 2021 can expect. We recommend reading this document before applying to the NIA or contacting us about your application.

Interested in applying?

Visit the NIA website to learn more about the application criteria and process, register for informational webinars, and access the online application portal. Webinars will be held on 8, 9, 22 September and 8 October.

Our Business Development team are available to support you and answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact us, you can email:  innovation@weahsn.net

Read about a local 2020 NIA Fellow

On 5 March 2020, the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) announced 11 high impact innovations joining the national accelerator in 2020, including one developed here in the West of England: The WaterDrop. Read more about The WaterDrop and their journey to becoming an NIA 2020 Fellow.

About the NHS Innovation Accelorator (NIA)

The NIA is an NHS England Initiative highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan. It accelerates uptake of high impact innovations for patient, population and NHS staff benefit, and providing real time practical insights on spread to inform national strategy.

The NIA supports individuals (‘Fellows’) with a set of values and passion for scaling evidence-based innovation to benefit a wider population, with a commitment to share their learnings.

Since launching in July 2015, the NIA has delivered the following (these stats do not include data from the latest rounds of Fellows, unveiled in March 2020):

  • 2,214 additional NHS sites using NIA innovations
  • £134.8m external funding raised
  • 486 jobs created
  • 113 awards won
  • 45 innovations selling internationally
  • NIA innovations save the health and social care system £38m per annum, according to conservative figures from independent evaluations by York Health Economic Consortium.

Industry roundtable discussions inform AHSN Network support offer

The AHSN Network, of which the West of England AHSN is a member, is planning a series of “Bridging the gap” events this autumn aimed at providing support, information and advice for innovators across industry. The plans have been developed following a roundtable discussion hosted by the AHSN Network to listen to the experiences and challenges faced by industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The roundtable, titled Lessons learned and lived experiences of industry during the pandemic – how these can help us reset health and care together, was primarily an opportunity to hear from industry. The group discussed how the views and experiences of industry could be taken forward and inform the NHS Reset process as we move into “phase 3” of the response to the pandemic. You can watch a short film summarising the event here.

In essence, the key themes of discussion around actions that need to involve industry insights to support reset included:

  • Effectively embedding new care/service models that have developed during the pandemic
  • Getting rapid evaluation and reimbursement models working more effectively, building on the lessons learned in recent months
  • Managing the consequences of the dramatic decrease in non-COVID care and considering digital interventions that can help manage patient care and outcomes.

Organisations joining the AHSN Network in this virtual roundtable included:

  • the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI),
  • the British In Vitro Diagnostic Association (BIVDA),
  • the Digital Health and Care Alliance (DHACA),
  • the Association of British Health Industries (ABHI),
  • Health Foundation,
  • Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC),
  • NHSX,
  • the Office for Life Sciences (OLS),
  • Spirit Health Group, and
  • the NHS Confederation.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“The NHS has been through the most traumatic period in its history – we have seen some of most awful consequences of this terrible pandemic and some of the most fantastic responses from both health and care staff.

“We have seen innovation and its implementation at an unimaginable speed and scale that’s never been seen before, and we now urgently need to review what has happened and make sure we capture the positive transformations have been made possible by working with industry.

“We are keen for these relationships to continue and for us all to work hard to maintain this momentum.”

Read more about the event here.

This event forms part of the AHSN Network work on supporting the health and care reset, ensuring that we work across both NHS and industry to sustain and maximise on potential advances and transformative ways of working.

New King’s Fund report on transformative technology for long-term health conditions

A new King’s Fund report, part funded by the West of England AHSN, titled Technology and innovation for long-term health conditions uses four unique case studies to outline and discuss key themes of effective implementation of digital innovation.

AHSNs commissioned the King’s Fund to explore four different digital innovations in health services from the UK and the Nordic countries in order to demonstrate transformative potential and compare and contrast themes across geographies. The paper acts as a continuation of the AHSN’s commitment to learn from and take a collaborative approach to innovation transnationally with countries that form the Northern Future Forum (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom). This follows an initial Innovation Leadership Exchange event in September 2019, attended by senior leaders within health and care across the Northern Future Forum countries.

The paper also recognises the rapid uptake of digital innovation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and outlines some of the questions services need to answer to sustain and implement digital technologies effectively going forward.

One of the case studies featured in the report is UK-based social enterprise, Patients Know Best who provide an online patient portal offering patients and health care staff a safe and secure way of exchanging information and giving patients access to their medical records.

One key feature of Patients Know Best’s approach is to put patients in charge, ensuring that they can access all the information about themselves in real time. Patients decide who else can access their information and allow new health care staff to join their team when needed, for example, when a GP or accident and emergency staff need to see their care plans.

Patients Know Best have been supported by a number of regional AHSNs since 2016 and has been adopted in more than 70 NHS trusts in England and can be accessed by more than five million NHS patients.

Other case studies include:

  • TeleCare North programme, which provides remote treatment for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Helsinki University Hospital’ remote diabetes monitoring programme for children
  • Huoleti app that connects patients with a support network.

The case studies illustrate the potential of digital technology to transform care, particularly through empowering patients, supporting stronger therapeutic relationships and effective teamworking across professional boundaries, and creating networks and communities to support patients.

Some key areas of discussion highlighted in the report include:

  • Responsive services for unpredictable diseases
  • Technology-enabled teamworking
  • Relationships enabled by technology
  • Collaborative design
  • Iterative cycles of improvement

The paper also calls on health and care providers to assess the impact on staff and patients of the rapid transition to online services driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure changes are fully assessed and to question whether there is scope to be more ambitious in redesigning services.

Read the report here. 

West of England innovator tapped to transform England’s NHS through national acceleration

On 5 March, the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) announced 11 high impact innovations joining the national accelerator in 2020, including one developed here in the West of England: The WaterDrop.

Developed by Mark Moran MBE, The WaterDrop is a low-cost, high-impact innovation enabling patients to easily access fluids at any time without needing to call for help. This innovation helps prevent dehydration and avoidable intravenous drips and could provide a breakthrough in a variety of health and social care settings. Mark received support for The WaterDrop back in 2016 through the Health Innovation Programme (HIP), our immersive bootcamp for healthcare entrepreneurs.

At a launch event chaired by Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement, the 2020 cohort of Fellows presented their innovations to key stakeholders, including including Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation of NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust.

All of the innovations joining the award-winning NIA offer solutions supporting priority areas for England’s NHS as laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Their recruitment follows an international call and rigorous selection process, including review by over 100 clinical, patient and commercial assessors (including three from the West of England AHSN), alongside informal review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The newly appointed group also includes a medically certified smartwatch app capable of detecting atrial fibrillation (AF), a device reducing the angst of parents by enabling faster ADHD diagnosis, and an artificial intelligence (AI) platform bringing patients’ voices to life to improve care.

This marks the fifth year of the NIA, which is an NHS England initiative delivered in partnership with England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), hosted at UCLPartners. Since 2015, it has supported the uptake and spread of 62 evidence-based innovations across more than 2,210 NHS sites. Independent evaluations report that NIA innovations save the health and social care system at least £38 million a year.

Alex Leach, our Deputy Director of Innovation and Growth, who contributed to the 2020 NIA selection process and attended the launch event in London, said:

“It’s fantastic to see an innovator and one of our HIP Alumni from the West of England selected for the NHS Innovation Accelerator. We know the innovations supported through the NIA make a real difference to the NHS, our economy, and most importantly patients and service users.

“At the West of England AHSN, we’ll continue to offer our support to The WaterDrop and all the 2020 Fellows to support adoption and spread of innovation across our footprint. The next round of NIA applications open later this year; I would encourage anyone thinking about applying or starting out on their innovator journey to get in touch.”

Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network, said:

“The NHS Innovation Accelerator is one of the flagship programmes of the AHSN Network. NIA Fellows have made a huge contribution to our health and care system since we started the programme five years ago, and we are proud to have supported these remarkable individuals on their development journey. It is gratifying to see their high-impact innovations gaining traction and visibility through our accelerator programme, and we are delighted that several NIA innovations have now had national impact in the NHS.

We look forward to working with the new NIA Fellows to help them scale and deploy their innovations across the country for the benefit of patients and the NHS.”

About the NHS Innovation Accelorator (NIA):

The NIA is an NHS England Initiative delivered in partnership with England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), hosted by UCLPartners. Highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan, it accelerates uptake of high impact innovations for patient, population and NHS staff benefit, and providing real time practical insights on spread to inform national strategy.

The NIA supports individuals (‘Fellows’) with a set of values and passion for scaling evidence-based innovation to benefit a wider population, with a commitment to share their learnings.

Since launching in July 2015, the NIA has delivered the following:

  • 2,214 additional NHS sites using NIA innovations
  • £134.8m external funding raised
  • 486 jobs created
  • 113 awards won
  • 45 innovations selling internationally
  • NIA innovations save the health and social care system £38m per annum, according to conservative figures from independent evaluations by York Health Economic Consortium

NHS Artificial Intelligence Award launched

Today (28 January) the Secretary of State for Health and Care Matt Hancock has launched a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Award for health and care.

The AI Award will make £140m available over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies which meet the strategic aims for the health service as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. The Award will focus on problems and solutions identified by the NHS, and the initial four areas of focus will be screening, diagnosis, decision support and improving system efficiency.

The recent report Artificial Intelligence: how to get it right. Putting policy into practice for safe data-driven innovation in health and care showed that data driven technology is already transforming care: successfully predicting cancer survival rates, cutting numbers of missed appointments and bringing down patient referral times. In fact the UK is quickly establishing itself as a global leader in AI for health and care, having published the first ethical framework of its kind; the Code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology.

By enabling NHS and care staff to take part in research and product development at an earlier stage, the aim is to support real cultural shifts that may be required to embed AI into the health and care system. The award will be run by the NHS’s Accelerated Access Collaborative, as part of the £250 million NHS AI Lab announced last year.

The government’s new flagship NHS AI Lab will maintain standards around transparency, safety and privacy in the development of this AI technology. The Lab will road test the necessary ethical, information governance and regulatory frameworks needed to underpin new products as they are introduced and scaled up across health and care.

The Lab will also help innovators to come together to collaborate, build, learn, share and showcase ideas. They will benefit from advice on regulations and approvals and will receive training not only to develop these technologies but also to deploy and sustain them for the foreseeable future, ensuring patient safety and public trust remain at the core.

You can find out more by joining any of the following Webex events:

Initial information session on 31 January, 11-12.00 (Join here).

Applicant Webex 4 February 2020, 11:00-12:00  Join here

Applicant Webex 11 February 2020, 11:00-12:00  Join here

Applicant Webex 18 February 2020, 11:00-12:00  Join here

Applicant Webex 25 February 2020, 11:00-12:00 Join here