NHS England has launched a worldwide call for “innovators” to partner with local health and care systems to trial new technologies and digital services.
These local “test beds” will act as areas where new ways of improving patient care can be tested with the potential to deliver benefits to both patients and taxpayers.
The plans are outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, a programme that sets out a vision for the future of the NHS.
The organisation is asking organisations from both the UK and overseas to come forward if they wish to have the opportunity to test their ideas and deliver health services in better ways at scale in a real clinical setting.
“The NHS’ ambition is to become the best place on the planet to test new combinations of innovations that produce clear payoffs for patients and taxpayers,” claimed NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.
“We’ll never be the system that pays the highest prices, we could be the health service most open to new and better ways of providing care,” he added.
NHS England is working in partnership with the 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) to identify around five test beds that will receive national support for implementing innovations that respond to local clinical needs.
Test beds may include combinations of GPs, hospitals, community health teams, social care and the voluntary sector.
They will be expected to collected evidence of any improvement in outcomes delivered to patients via any innovations trialled.
Examples of innovations could include equipping patients with wearable technology, alongside new patterns of working for clinical and nursing staff with the aim of helping patients manage long-term condition, addressing any potential problems as early as possible and keeping them out of hospital.
“Whilst our NHS has pioneered world beating medical breakthroughs, for too long we have been a slow adopter of innovations developed outside the system and too slow at rolling out best practice so all NHS patients benefit,” claimed Life Sciences Minister George Freeman.
“The NHS Test Bed Programme is about unlocking the potential of the world’s only fully integrated health system as the ultimate platform for assessing the real value of innovations.
“By doing this we open the door to making the UK once again the place in the world to invest in and develop medical innovations,” Freeman added.