There are many different definitions of innovation. Here at Eastern AHSN, we use the definition set out in ‘Innovation, Health and Wealth: Accelerating Adoption and Diffusion in the NHS‘
“An idea, service or product that is new to the NHS or applied in a way that is new to the NHS, which significantly improves the quality of health and care wherever it is applied.”
Given the unprecedented fiscal and operational challenges on the system, we recognise that continuing with ‘business as usual’ is not an option. We believe that innovation is vital to the advancement of health and care. Innovation is not just about invention. It is the whole process of development, implementation, and spread of ideas.
We are the only bodies that connect all partners across sectors: NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry. We are catalysts that work to create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, improving outcomes for patients.
About Academic Health Science Networks
There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale – improving health and generating economic growth.
As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. This means we are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations.
Although small organisations – which ensures we remain flexible and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges – we lead large regional networks. Hence our impact rests in our ability to bring people, resources and organisations together quickly, delivering benefits that could not be achieved alone. The impact we are making is already clear: for example a survey of AHSNs commissioned by NHS England found that 73% of respondents would recommend working with us.
Our shared priorities
Each AHSN works within its own area to develop projects, programmes and initiatives that reflect the diversity of our local populations and healthcare challenges. However, we all share the following priorities:
- Promoting economic growth: fostering opportunities for industry to work effectively with the NHS.
- Diffusing innovation: creating the right environment, and supporting collaboration across boundaries, in order to adopt and spread innovation at pace and scale.
- Improving patient safety: using our knowledge, expertise and networks to bring together patients, healthcare staff and partners to determine priorities and develop and implement solutions.
- Improving quality and reducing variation: by spreading best practice we increase productivity and reduce variation, thereby improving patient outcomes.
- Putting research into practice: our strong links with academia mean we are uniquely placed to support the translation of research into clinical practice.
- Collaborating on national programmes: our unified programmes focus on delivery of the SBRI Healthcare initiative (supporting SME interaction), the NHS Innovation Accelerator and Patient Safety Collaboratives.
Ours is not a short-term challenge but as our AHSN Network impact report demonstrates we are already making a difference for patients and the public, for innovators, for clinicians and for the healthcare system.
Please follow the links below to find out more about how ASHNs are supporting system-wide health transformation:
Summary of AHSNs’ individual priorities