Four technologies to transform patient care supported by the NHS Innovation and Technology Payment

NHS England have announced the four innovations to be supported by the NHS Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) programme from 1 April 2018, following up the Innovation and Technology Tariff (ITT) launched last year.

Delivered in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), the ITP aims to remove barriers to the spread and adoption of innovative products or technologies (medical devices, digital platforms and technologies), and the need for multiple price negotiations.

Innovations accepted on to the ITP are directly funded by NHS England and will be available to NHS organisations from April 2018 for one year, after which the support will be reviewed. The 15 Academic Health Science Networks will take direct responsibility for accelerating local uptake of technologies supported by the ITP.

The ITP builds on the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) by offering routes and support for new innovations and technologies that can make a real difference to patient care and outcomes. The programme forms part of a wider set of activities to support innovation in the NHS, led by NHS England with the AHSN Network.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said:
“From the very beginning the NHS has been at the forefront of driving innovation, as we celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday the NHS continues to champion innovation.
“These technologies will improve patient safety and potentially reduce the need for invasive and expensive tests.”

The four innovations offered through the ITP are:

  • HeartFlow – Advanced image analysis software that creates a 3D model of the coronary arteries and analyses the impact that blockages have on blood flow to rapidly diagnose patients with suspected coronary artery disease. The use of the device can avoid the need for invasive investigations such as coronary angiography, usually carried out under local anaesthetic, where a catheter is passed through the blood vessels to the heart to release a dye before X-rays are taken. NICE estimate up to 35,000 people per year could be eligible.
  • Plus Sutures – A new type of surgical suture – stitching – that reduces the rate of surgery-linked infection (surgical site infection) such as MRSA, through the use of antimicrobial suture packs. There were 823 cases of MRSA reported in the NHS in 2016/17.
  • Endocuff Vision – A new type of ‘bowel scope’ that improves colorectal examination for patients undergoing bowel cancer tests. Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in England with 34,000 people diagnosed each year. For every 1,000 people screened for cancer, it is estimated that six cases could be avoided thanks to early detection through the use of this device.
  • SecurAcath – A device to secure catheters that reduces the infection risk for patients with a peripherally inserted central catheter. The use of this equipment helps to reduce the time taken to care and treat dressing changes. This type of catheter is normally used in people needing intravenous access for several weeks or months in both inpatient and outpatient settings. NICE estimate up to 120,000 people per year could be eligible.

This is the second year of the drive to identify and fast track specific innovations into the NHS, which has already benefitted 75,000 patients.

In an effort to tackle the problem of missed hospital appointments NHS England will support DrDoctor, a digital tool to help patients view, change and schedule appointments, to demonstrate its potential in a real world setting.

Almost eight million hospital appointments were missed in 2016/17, according to the latest figures released by NHS Digitial. That does not include appointments cancelled in advance by either the hospital or the patient. With each hospital outpatient appointment costing the NHS approximately £120 in 2016/17, that means almost £1 billion worth of appointments were missed, equivalent to 257,000 hip replacements or 990,000 cataract operations.

Professor Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHS England, said:
“For new innovations to flourish and spread at scale access to funding is critical, by buying these four innovations centrally NHS England has removed the barriers to the spread of these innovations so patients can benefit faster.
“This is just one way in which the NHS is supporting innovation as we celebrate the NHS’ 70th birthday, later this year we will be announcing the next round of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals joining the growing numbers of entrepreneurs developing new and innovative treatments for patients from within the NHS.”

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