New routemap to help MedTech innovators escape the ‘innovation maze’

Published: 20th March 2019
  • MedTech is a high growth sector for UK plc, with jobs up 17% in the last 10 years in contrast to other sectors such as biopharma1
  • The East of England employs 16.2% of total national life sciences employees, with 1,235 employees having joined the region’s core MedTech sector between 2009 and 20171 and Cambridge is the largest technology cluster in Europe2
  • The NHS now spends £6bn a year on MedTech, with significant growth opportunities
  • AHSNs’ new resource will help innovators navigate the often confusing innovation pathway to access the NHS

The AHSNs, in partnership with the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), today launched a report of the HealthTech landscape aimed at accelerating the entry, adoption and spread of innovations for the benefit of patients and commercial success.

This is an exciting time for the MedTech industry as innovative solutions to meet pressing healthcare needs have never been in greater demand. Indeed, in the East of England alone, 27 additional life sciences sites were established between 2009 and 20171 in order to meet that demand. Furthermore, successive improvements in national policy have helped to support the sector, including the commitments in the Accelerated Access Review3 and recent NHS Long Term Plan4 to create a new funding climate. However, our report has identified that in addition to securing finance and supporting policy there is a need for practical advice and support to help the industry thrive.

Established by NHS England in 2013, Health Innovation East is one of the 15 regional AHSNs tasked to champion companies with game-changing innovations and maximise their potential to achieve significant population health impacts. As the only organisations designed to connect all partners across the sector – NHS, academia, local authorities, the third sector industries and citizens – AHSNs are ideally placed to help MedTech innovators whose advances often sit at areas of convergence between industries including biotechnology, telecommunication, artificial intelligence and consumer wellbeing.

The report uses the network’s understanding of the NHS ecosystem to outline how technologies need to be incorporated into a much wider service redesign in order to demonstrate impact and value. It highlights an integrated approach necessary to supporting MedTech innovations, including checklists and practical steps for each aspect of the pathway, such as creation, development, regulation, evaluation, market access, commissioning and adoption.

Health Innovation East also offers support in the form of the Innovation Exchange, which links innovative solutions with existing local healthcare system challenges to ensure that the local needs of the STP and Integrated Care Systems are met. Funded by the Office for Life Sciences, the Innovation Exchanges bring people and organisations together, speeding up the spread of innovation in the Eastern region, saving the NHS money, generating economic growth and getting technologies to more patients faster.

Piers Ricketts, Vice-Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern commented: “The health and science infrastructure in the UK, particularly here in the East of England with our exceptional science and academic base, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunities for economic growth and improved patient outcomes created by MedTech. However, there is a risk of companies getting lost as they navigate the innovation maze.

Within this report we have set out how, as a network, we can help developers navigate through a MedTech innovation pathway to support patients, clinicians in the East of England and UK plc.”

The full HealthTech landscape review is available for download in our resources.

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