New routemap to help MedTech innovators escape the ‘innovation maze’

The AHSNs in partnership with the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) today launched a report of the MedTech landscape aimed at accelerating the entry, adoption and spread of innovations for the benefit of patients and commercial success.

This is an exciting time for the MedTech industry as innovative solutions to meet pressing healthcare needs have never been in greater demand.  Furthermore, successive improvements in national policy have helped to support the sector, including the commitments in the Accelerated Access Review and recent NHS Long Term Plan to create a new funding climate. However, our report has identified that in addition to securing finance and supporting policy there is a need for practical advice and support to help the industry thrive.

Established by NHS England in 2013, AHSNs champion companies with game changing innovations and seek to maximise their potential to achieve significant population health impacts. As the only organisations designed to connect all partners across the sector – NHS, academia, local authorities, the third sector industries and citizens – the networks are ideally placed to help MedTech innovators whose advances often sit at areas of convergence between industries including biotechnology, telecommunication, artificial intelligence and consumer wellbeing.

The report uses the network’s understanding of the NHS ecosystem to outline how technologies need to be incorporated into a much wider service redesign in order to demonstrate impact and value. It highlights an integrated approach necessary to supporting MedTech innovations, including checklists and practical steps for each aspect of the pathway, including creation, development, regulation, evaluation, market access, commissioning and adoption.

Another example of the support AHSNs can offer is the Innovation Exchanges operated by each of the 15 regional AHSNs, which link innovative solutions with existing local healthcare system challenges to ensure that the local needs of the STP and Integrated Care Systems are met. Funded by the Office for Life Sciences, the Innovation Exchanges are able to bring people and organisations together, speeding up the spread of innovation in the local area, saving the NHS money, generating economic growth and getting technologies to more patients faster.

Piers Ricketts, Vice-Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Academic Health Science Network commented: “The health and science infrastructure in the UK is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunities for economic growth and improved patient outcomes created by MedTech. However, there is a risk of companies getting lost as they navigate the innovation maze. Within this report we have set out how as a network we can help developers navigate through a MedTech innovation pathway to support patients, clinicians and UK plc.”

Richard Phillips, Director of Healthcare Policy, ABHI, commented: The potential of cutting-edge technologies to support preventative, predictive and personalised care is huge and the UK has the chance to lead the world. We have the opportunity to build an ecosystem that continually creates the best technology that can be exported, alongside new methods and insights that can contribute to health outcomes globally.”

The report is available for download here.