The Department of Health has launched an implementation support website to help speed the adoption of six high-impact innovations throughout the NHS, which include increased opportunities for the Service to promote the commercial value of its IP and knowledge internationally.
The six innovations - which are identified in NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson's landmark report, Innovation Health and Wealth as having the potential to transform both quality and value in the NHS - are:- increased support for carers of people with dementia. In England, there are now around 750,000 people with dementia, and this number is growing all the time. An impact of this is that an estimated 600,000 people in the UK are acting as primary carers for people with dementia, saving the public purse around £6 billion every year:
- increased use of technology to allow patients and the public to access healthcare services remotely, should they choose to do so. The Department's Digital First (formerly Digital by default) initiative aims to reduce unnecessary face-to-face contact between patients and healthcare professionals by incorporating technology into these interactions. This is not about replacing doctors or nurses with technology, says the Department; "instead, it is about using technology in healthcare where it can deliver the same high standards in a way that is more flexible and convenient for patients, and at a lower cost;"
- the national roll-out of assistive technologies - telehealth and telecare - to three million people by April 2017. This initiative, known as 3millionlives, is the biggest partnering opportunity there has ever been between government and industry, says the Department. "If technology is to deliver the benefits it promises, the NHS will need to redesign the pathways of care that are provided for people with long-term conditions. It needs to do this at a scale and pace that has not been seen before," it notes, adding: "the key will be greater collaboration than has previously existed between primary and secondary care teams, both clinical and managerial, and between providers and commissioners;"
- reducing the time it takes from assessment to delivery of wheelchairs for children. The "child in a chair in a day" initiative "has come to mean that organisations have in place a referral process, an assessment of the child for the right equipment solution, so that equipment is delivered within a reasonable timeframe with the appropriate level of funding," says the Department;- increased use of intra-operative fluid management. Maintaining optimal fluid status during and immediately after surgery is vital and can contribute to achieving enhanced recovery. Various technologies are available to help surgical teams more accurately assess and manage a patient's fluid status, thereby minimising the risks of complication due to their having too much or too little fluid in their tissues; and
- increased opportunities for the NHS to promote the commercial value of its IP and knowledge internationally. This "international and commercial" initiative calls for the NHS to look at its economic and industrial role, both with respect to health and care related industries and the wider economy. The NHS has a lot of power which can be utilised to support and strengthen the economy without having a negative effect on the care it provides - indeed, by working in this way it can even improve the quality and value of the care provided, says the Department. "The NHS has to change how it interacts with the wider economy for the better, not only for the benefit of patients and the NHS, but local trades and industry as well as the environment," it adds.
The new website, which has been developed by the Department in partnership with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, and NHS Improvement, allows users to: - learn about the innovations; - read case studies; - access support to help with implementation, including procurement; - access help with business case development and service redesign; - benchmark performance; - share their experiences; - score others' case studies; and - develop ideas and online communities.