Making it work in the NHS

How we can help small businesses collaborate with the health service was the theme of this two-day Health Innovation Exchange (HIE) workshop hosted by the Alder Innovation team at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Health is one of the biggest and fastest-growing growing sectors in the world, with spend projected to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020 and in the Liverpool City Region, over £3bn is spent on the delivery of health & care services and increasing levels of investment is being diverted towards technology enabled activity within the NHS. It is this rate of growth that is creating unprecedented opportunities for businesses currently not working in healthcare.

Jason Taylor from Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust kicked off the workshop to a packed audience discussing the importance of partnership working and how the HIE programme is supporting companies to accelerate the development of innovative products and services.

Expanding on this, Dr Andrew Rose from Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the NHS’s Innovation Agency spoke about the health & care challenges and opportunities in the City Region and how the HIE programme can help businesses who want develop products for the NHS and wider care system. Andy updated delegates on the success of the HIE programme which has, so far, supported 75 businesses, created 24 jobs and helped nine new products to market.

The aim of the first two sessions that followed Dr Rose were designed to help digital and life sciences companies understand how the NHS adopts new products. First up was Brian Mangan from the NHS discussing the changing landscape of procurement in the NHS and gives advice on how businesses can engage and communicate with such a large public sector body as the NHS.

Laura Boland from the Innovation Agency then went through how businesses can break down the barriers of accessing the NHS by building a value proposition, Laura went on to talk about the principles of building a value propositions and importantly how you can evidence it. She also spoke about the need to be aware of the current situation in health and social care and the need to research the overall market and understand how it all works; then businesses can demonstrate how and where their product will add value to people and the health and care system. Propositions should be clear, compelling and differentiating.

The perspective from a business that has achieved success through working with the NHS was up next. Dave Burrows gave a fascinating talk about how the Health Innovation Exchange programme partners have helped Damibu access the NHS with their projects such as the CATCH app which is a free NHS help app for parents and carers of children. Dave also gave some ideas on how businesses can sell into the NHS.

On a related theme to Laura Boland, Simon Leigh from Orcha/Visformatics gave an insightful talk on health economics and selling into the NHS, highlighting the need to demonstrate your effectiveness and value and show your evidence. Simon spoke about what data sources are available to enable businesses demonstrate their effectiveness and value. Simon stressed the importance of making sure the data is valid, accurate, up-to-date and is reviewed by relevant experts.

The end of day one saw Nick Roach from Geminus Training discusses R&D Tax Credits – who is eligible and how you can claim it.

Day two of the workshop focused on the complex issues involved in seeing products being adopted within the NHS and how the HIE programme can help. In particular, how project partner Aimes Data Centre works with the NHS and the work they do on the HIE project.

Heather Glover from AIMES Data Centre gave an extremely informative talk on the types of data and record systems in the NHS and how you access this data. Heather also explained about the challenges around different types of NHS data how AIMES can help businesses innovate.

Next up Dr Ed Conley from AIMES Data Centre discussed governance and permissions on data sharing and the complexities around this in the NHS. Richard Spragg, also from AIMES, spoke on the NHS networks in place and the information governance around the Health & Social Care Network (HSCN) which is the data network for health and care organisations to access and exchange electronic information.

Michael Walker from AIMES spoke about developing roadmaps and provided a fantastic insight on how the HIE project can help businesses navigate the NHS and gave a great example of how AIMES has been able to work and partner with the NHS.

Colin Callow from the Innovation Agency concluded the day with a fascinating talk on demystifying the healthcare landscape focusing on NHS funding and budgets; regulation and monitoring and the NHS Long Term Plan. Colin also talked about the support the Innovation Agency can provide through the HIE project.

A film of the event can be viewed here

If you would like to explore the NHS as a target market for your products or services, get in touch with the Health Innovation Exchange programme via the local growth hub to see how we can help accelerate your business.