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Connecting the NHS with Industry Innovators

Written by: Neville Young - 23rd October 2020

In this blog Dr Neville Young, our Director of Enterprise and Innovation, reflects on the work we have done in the last 12 months to bring industry innovators and NHS organisations together and shares some of his personal highlights.

It’s impossible to look back at 2019-20 without first reflecting on how much the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on our work. The pandemic has been the biggest challenge to healthcare system in a lifetime and the whole of the AHSN Network, including our AHSN, has needed to pivot rapidly to meet the “new needs” of the NHS. We have found ourselves immersed in some new areas including rapid evaluation, digital primary care, Personal Protective Equipment, and care homes – because this where the needs have been.

We have demonstrated that we can be agile by adapting quickly to work in new ways to respond to the needs of the NHS and patients and we look forward to continuing to bring industry innovators together with NHS and social care organisations to help improve outcomes for patients and drive efficiencies across the healthcare system.

We made significant progress in 2019-20 as we supported over 350 companies to help them understand the healthcare challenges in the region and what they need to do to successfully engage with the NHS.

Highlights from 2019-20 include:

  • Building on our relationships with our ICSs and local stakeholders to ensure we are their partners in the delivery of innovation
  • Providing around 2,000 hours of support to help companies to develop their innovations, creating jobs and driving economic growth in our region
  • Working with industry to leverage investment of over £3m into the region
  • Helping to secure a Data-Can Digital Innovation Hub in Yorkshire and the Humber alongside sites in London and Belfast – this included around £8.5m of investment from HDRUK and industry.

In 2019, through our digital accelerator programme Propel@YH, we worked with six companies, providing them with a course of structured support to help them navigate the NHS.

Our Propel@YH programme achievements included:

  • £225k funding has been obtained by companies
  • Seven new research collaborations have been created
  • Four new jobs have been created in cohort companies

For our 2020 programme we are grateful to have secured formal parentships with Barclay’s Eagle labs, Hill Dickinson LLP, Nexus and Leeds City Council enabling us to grow content and expand the cohort to 10 companies this year. Propel@YH 2020 launched last week.

Last year we also collaborated with the other three AHSNs in the north of England – Health Innovation Manchester, Innovation Agency North West Coast and North East and North Cumbria – to launch the Digital North Accelerator programme. The programme supports digital innovator companies to increase the spread and adoption of their solutions across the whole of the north of England by delivering a range of supporting activity.

Five companies took part in the accelerator: DocAbode, IEG4, Bruin Biometrics, Zilco and Cievert, to explain their products to NHS customers in a series of webinars.

As we look back at our successes in 2019-20, we would like to thank all our partners and stakeholders, without whose active collaboration and fantastic support we could not have achieved the scale of our results. We have worked hard to maintain and strengthen our relationships with all our stakeholders.

These are just a few of our highlights. You can find out more about our work in our Impact Report

If you are an innovator with an idea or a health care professional with a need, or indeed if you are both of those things, then please contact us and let’s start a conversation on how to develop your ideas or innovation.