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AHSN Network: Support for the MedTech Industry

The NHS spends approximately £6 billion a year on medical technology, also known as MedTech.

The NHS spends approximately £6 billion a year on medical technology, also known as MedTech.

The World Health Organisation defines MedTech as ‘an article, instrument, apparatus or machine that is used in the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease, or for detecting, measuring, restoring, correcting or modifying the structure of function of the body for some health purpose.’

It is an industry that accounts for over 86,000 jobs in the UK, almost a third of which are within small companies, and supports an additional 24,600 services and supply roles.

The AHSN Network has now published a major new report into this important industry.

The MedTech Landscape Review  focuses on the MedTech innovation pathway providing  signposting to key organisations who can offer up-to-the-minute advice and outlining the work the 15 AHSNs across the country are doing to support innovators.

Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) were first licensed in 2013 and have become a vital part of the country’s health economy, connecting and brokering partnerships between health and care, academia, the third sector and industry.

The AHSNs have established a MedTech Innovation National Network (INN) to enhance the awareness and support given to the MedTech sector in England and to accelerate the development of innovations and their adoption by the NHS.

A focus for the AHSN Network is on identifying and supporting innovations with the potential to scale up and achieve significant population-level impacts in the NHS within the next five to 10 years. This means working with industry associations such as the Association of British HealthTech industries (ABHI) and the British In Vitro Diagnostic Association (BIVDA) to accelerate the development of a flourishing market by pulling through successful innovations into mainstream use.

The AHSN Network also delivers the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA). This is an NHS England initiative that supports the uptake and spread of high impact, evidence-based innovations across England’s NHS, benefitting patients, populations and NHS staff.

Through the partnership with the AHSN Network, the NIA supports ‘Fellows’ to spread their high impact, evidence-based innovations across England’s NHS, benefitting staff, patients and populations.

This week saw the announcement of the latest cohort of the NIA’s 13 new Fellows and Innovations for 2019.

Some of these Fellows will be speaking at the Health+Care show, 13.50 to 14.20 on Thursday June 27 in the Finance, Efficiency and Procurement Theatre. The session will focus on digital tools that can help cut costs in secondary care.

Since launching in July 2015, the NIA has delivered:

  • 1,700 additional NHS sites using NIA innovations
  • £79m external funding raised
  • 287 jobs created
  • 74 awards won
  • 21 innovations selling internationally

The importance of AHSNs in the successful spread of innovations is documented in a King’s Fund study and this role was given a further renewed vote of confidence in the new NHS Long Term Plan.

AHSNs are supporting the NHS to deliver a step-change in the rapid identification, adoption and spread of best practice, clinical innovations and new technologies to meet the challenges set out in the Long Term Plan.

Removing barriers and streamlining approaches for the adoption of innovative products will benefit patients by making services more convenient, easier to access and will improve the quality and consistency of care across patient pathways.

Useful links:

Meet the new NHS NIA Fellows

Video blog by Jimmy Endicott (ChatHealth) on his journey to becoming an NIA Fellow and how his local AHSN supported him. Watch it here:

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