How is the Health Innovation Network supporting the response to COVID-19?

As services across the NHS and social care continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, England’s 15 Health Innovation Networks have played their part in meeting the challenge.

Leveraging our knowledge

In the first week of the crisis, Health Innovation East contributed to the national Health Innovation Network collation of more than 200 proven innovations in diagnostic testing and remote consultation and monitoring. These had the potential to support the health and care service to change the way in which it delivered care in the context of a rapidly spreading new infectious disease.

We supported TechForce19, a call out – led by NHSX – for digital innovations to assist the elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating during lockdown. We helped the national team to evaluate more than 1,600 submissions, leading to 18 innovators receiving up to £25,000 each to rapidly develop their ideas with the support of the the Health Innovation Network.

Going digital

As lockdown came into force, it became essential to support primary care and outpatients services to adopt a telephone and online model. To enable this, Health Innovation East:

  • Worked alongside NHS England, NHS Improvement, NHS Digital and NHSX to support adoption of existing procured solutions for remote triage and consultation.
  • Led a workstream to review and update cyber security and manage delivery and installation of new IT equipment provided to the primary care community across the East of England. We shared our learnings from these initiatives, across the region and on a national level across the network.
  • Redeployed some Health Innovation Network staff alongside a team kindly provided on a pro bono basis by AstraZeneca, to embed remote triage and digital consultation solutions between primary care and residential and care homes
Clinician providing care for patient awarded a UK government grant

The AI-powered platform enables clinicians to ask any question about COVID-19 and seamlessly and instantly get a response curated by clinical community.

Supporting the acute sector and care homes

As well as supporting the system and industry in procuring and delivering personal protective equipment (PPE), we have been supporting the frontline response by:

  • Redeploying staff with expertise to join the frontline workforce on wards and support NHS England and NHS Improvement’s operational arm to manage acute critical care services and resources across the East of England.
  • Adapting the workstreams of the Patient Safety Collaboratives hosted across the Health Innovation Network to focus on the pandemic response. This included providing training and resources to care homes, including supporting the implementation of RESTORE2 and tools for managing deterioration across acute, primary and ambulatory care and in care homes.
  • Working closely with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group to evaluate the use of remote monitoring devices for patients within care homes. We will share the learnings across the region.

Keeping innovation at the core of NHS Reset

The Health Innovation Network has partnered with the NHS Confederation and the Health Foundation on the NHS Reset campaign, ensuring we retain and embed those sustainable positive changes made during the pandemic.

Showcasing the best COVID-19 innovations from the East of England

The East of England regional innovation and transformation event showcased some of the most effective COVID-19 innovations from the region.

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Tara Marshall Health Innovation East Clinical Lead for Deterioration
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Tania Holland Blog Photo
Care during a crisis: Learning from the military-style NHS response to COVID-19

Tania Holland, Quality Improvement Project Manager, reflects on how the NHS coronavirus response echoes many components of the military mentality.

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National Early Warning Score NEWS2 AHSN
Patient safety toolkits

You can find the patient safety toolkits and information in our resources for healthcare providers section.

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Care home blood pressure elderly patient
Providing GPs with a virtual ward to spot signs of deterioration faster

Following a grant from Innovate UK, Health Innovation East is facilitating the roll out of remote monitoring across selected care homes across the East of England.

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