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NHS England plans online tool for innovators


Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHS England is aiming to develop an online support tool for innovation in the healthcare sector.

It has indicated that it wants to make it easier for innovators to receive support in accelerating product development and promoting take-up of their solutions in the NHS.

The project is being run through the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), which provides a fast-track route for new technologies and medicines, with NHS England planning a three-month alpha project to begin in March aimed at developing of a prototype of the tool.

It follows a 2018 review into the innovation ecosystem that identified a lack of clarity in the area.

Innovators are expected to use the tool in triaging products for suitability and to connect with relevant health system organisations at the right time.

On the healthcare side, organisations are expected to use it to view active innovations, understand which products are in the pipeline, and connect with innovators who require support.

Pressure points

NHSX has done some work on the issue, identifying three primary pressure points for innovators: commonality of standards; consistent evaluation frameworks; and a clear pathway to procurement. A notice for support in the alpha project says these have been intensified by a lack of cohesive information.

The AAC has subsequently identified two main components for the tool: an open ‘broadcast’ resource to provide information; and a ‘marketplace’ to connect registered users with support structures.

An operational working group has been set up for the project with representatives from NHS England, NHSX, the Office for Life Sciences, academic health science networks and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

Image from iStock

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