Innovation Exchanges build on AHSNs’ unique cross-sector connections, which enable us to identify common challenges and quickly bring people and organisations together to develop, test and spread solutions. We speed up the spread of innovation, saving the NHS money, generating economic growth and getting technologies to more patients faster.
All AHSNs operate Innovation Exchanges, with funding from the government’s Office for Life Sciences (OLS).
The government’s recognition of, and investment in, Innovation Exchanges is a step-change in the capacity of AHSNs to accelerate adoption of innovation and drive economic growth.
Innovation Exchanges have local and national dimensions:
Locally they support Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems to identify proven solutions to existing challenges
Where solutions tested locally are proven to work, the national AHSN Network may consider them for wider adoption or put them forward to the national Accelerated Access Collaborative. Each year this NHS / government partnership selects high impact innovations for nationwide adoption throughout the NHS, with funding and support to quickly navigate issues that can be a barrier to rapid spread.
Core functions of the Innovation Exchanges
Innovation Exchange processes differ between AHSNs to ensure they respond to the local needs of their STPs and Integrated Care Systems. However, they all share common core functions and steps:
- the AHSN works with STPs and Integrated Care Systems to establish key challenges
- using their unique cross sector connections, the AHSN communicates these challenges to industry and third sector innovators – helping them understand demand and the evidence required by the NHS
- signposting – AHSNs help match innovation solutions to the identified healthcare challenges, and seek early adopter sites to test them out
- AHSNs support the process to gather evaluation in practice – creating the evidence to support spread and adoption
- AHSNs support the spread and adoption of innovation within their local area.
The most successful innovations tested out locally may be considered for wider spread and adoption:
- across all or a number of AHSN areas via the AHSN Network (the collaborative comprising England’s 15 AHSNs)
- by putting them forward to the Accelerated Access Collaborative for national spread and adoption.
To find out more about your local Innovation Exchange, please contact your nearest AHSN.