Pitching what the ITT and ITP have to offer

By Rachel Turnbull, 27th July 2018

Our event on 7th June brought together companies and NHS staff to explore and discover more about a collection of free innovations on offer to Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the country. These are part of a national initiative by NHS England to try to make available, innovations that can be rolled out without any purchasing costs (although as we learnt during the day, implementation ‘costs’ can’t be ignored).

The innovations include ‘myCOPD’, an online self-management platform by mymhealth; Qualitech and Kings Lynn Hospital with their Pneux system to prevent people getting ventilator associated pneumonia; Amdel Medical and Kings Lynn Hospital with a small and inexpensive device to stop medication being injected into arteries; a new procedure called Urolift to introduce an alternative less invasive treatment for men with prostate problems; Episcissors by Medinvent Ltd to reduce injuries during childbirth ; Heartflow, a 3D image analysis software for assessing heart problems; Plus Sutures, a stitching pack that reduces infections during surgery; Securacath, a device to reduce catheter fall out; and Endocuff Vision, a bowel scope that helps improve the detection of bowel cancer.

Companies were given 5 minute time slots to give their ‘elevator pitch’ to the audience, a tall order! But chaired by the wonderful Professor Oliver James, our former Medical Director, we were kept well on track. All of the companies did a fantastic job in getting their message across, and communicating what their innovation was and why it was important, not forgetting the all-important evidence base behind each of them.

Our local clinicians and CCGs leads shared their experiences of implementation so far with some of the innovations.  We heard from Dr Paul Ayuk about some of the challenges of using Episcissors in practice; a fantastic example of how Sunderland CCG are making myCOPD available to a wide range of people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); and how Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are testing out and evaluating use of the Non Injectable Arterial Connector (NIC) on two of their wards at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).

Although the majority of these innovations are new products, we also come across some fantastic service innovations in our AHSN and these are as important as any new technologies! We very much see innovation on a broad spectrum and it is simply about thinking differently about problems, and applying new solutions to them.

Our day was rounded up by some table discussions. NHS staff told us about the challenges of getting innovations implemented within a large organisation where hierarchical systems exist. Identifying and getting in front of the right people could sometimes prove to be an issue; having to navigate various committees; and the time and resources needed for implementation could not be ignored. Nevertheless it was acknowledged that the companies provide some really helpful flyers and resources and where there are already clinical working groups these should be used to engage staff.

Interestingly, companies had similar reflections on the process – finding the right people to speak to (both within AHSNs and external to them), was often difficult. There were some frustrations expressed in terms of how long things can take to happen, and that it would be beneficial to have posts dedicated to the implementation of national innovations.

Nevertheless, despite the challenges, these innovations exist because often, a need has been identified and new ways have been presented to address problems. These are not the only options but as an AHSN we have a duty to share these opportunities if there is evidence that they could improve patient care and help save costs. We want to help support both companies and our NHS partners the best way possible and we rely on our NHS partners to give us their honest views and informed clinical opinions.

If you were part of this event, in any shape or form, thank you. We could not do such networking events without your valuable contributions. If anyone would like to know more about the NHS England initiatives above, they are referred to as the ‘Innovation Technology Tariff’ and ‘Innovation Technology Payment’ (more commonly known in the AHSN world now as ITT and ITP!). For more information contact me at  (rachel.turnbull@ahsn-nenc.org.uk)