Innovation supply and demand: never the twain shall meet?

Jun 1, 2017 · Guest post from Dr Amanda Begley, Co-founder of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA)

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I am repeatedly inspired by the great work happening both within and alongside the NHS to improve health and healthcare in this country.

The exceptional NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) Fellows, along with the many others that are pioneering high impact innovations independently, demonstrate this. For example, ERAS+ helps patients and families to better prepare and recover from major surgery, reducing complications and helping patients to get home faster. Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) seeks to join up the police and mental health teams to understand and help manage high intensity behaviour, through a combination of clinical expertise, compassion and appropriate boundaries to those with complex needs. Meanwhile, Join Dementia Research aims to accelerate the progress of dementia research to improve treatment and care for those affected.

The innovations on the NIA span pathways, services, training, digital and devices and offer real contributions to bridging the three ‘gaps’ identified in the NHS Five Year Forward View:

- Health and wellbeing: getting serious about prevention and community engagement

E.g. Craig Newman’s Epilepsy Self Monitor, Ben Underwood’s Brush-DJ, Penny Newman’s Health Coaching

- Care and quality: re-shaping care delivery, harnessing technology and reducing variations in quality

E.g. Rupert Dunbar-Rees’ Outcomes Based Healthcare, Bernadette Porter’s Neuroresponse, Adrian Flowerday’s ArtemusICS

- Funding and efficiency: to reach financial balance and realise system efficiencies

E.g. Tom Whicher’s DrDoctor, Paul Volkaert’s Nervecentre, Julia Riley’s Coordinate my Care

The Five Year Forward View and strategic initiatives from NHS England, including Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), articulate the need for transformation in healthcare. The NHS even has aspiration to become: "one of the best places in the world to test innovations".

Why, then, is it so difficult to match supply to demand, and see the adoption of new and better practice happen at scale through the NHS?

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