Three million patients began tapping into new apps, safety devices, on-line networks, and a stream of other new technologies and services during the first nine months of a pioneering programme designed to introduce new innovations to the NHS.

The NHS Innovation Accelerator programme was launched in July 2015 with the over-riding goal of creating the conditions and culture changes necessary to accelerate adoption of cutting-edge solutions and thus boost patient care.

Now, NHS England says sixty-eight NHS organisations are using one or more of the 17 approved new innovations to improve care, represented by 17 different fellows being supported to take their technology or service to an increasing number of patients at a greater pace.

These include: a national service matching people interested in participating in dementia research with suitable studies; a whole hospital digital platform that enables doctors and nurses to carry out patient observations, handovers and clinical assessments electronically; and an online self-management system to enable patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder to self-care.

The Fellows have thus far raised more than £8 million from external sources, an eight fold increase of the Accelerator’s initial investment of £1 million, to help drive forward their innovations, while NHS England has helped unblock systemic barriers to spreading innovation and the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks have helped secure their adoption in clinical practice.

“There is a real need across the NHS to speed up the process of innovation – from initial invention right through to mass uptake of the most successful across the health and care system,” said Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s medical director. “Together with their mentors, who are some of the most high-profile leaders in England, the innovation fellows will provide models and lessons for us all in how to do that.”