techUK host Matt Whitty, Chief Executive of the AAC and Director of NHS Innovation, Research and Life Sciences
Matt gave the audience an overview of the AAC’s aims and priorities, emphasising the goal of bringing innovations to patients quicker and coordinating different areas of government. He outlined several priorities, including:
- Improving demand-signalling to help industry understand the needs of the NHS
- Ensuring research is considered central to NHS activities, and working to make it larger, faster, and more diverse
- Making it easier to translate results into practice, helping with the adoption of NICE-approved technologies
Matt also emphasised the importance of helping industry navigate the complex network that makes up the UK’s health and care ecosystem and spoke to the launch later this year of the NHS Innovation Service. This service will act as a focal point for the NHS’s innovation pipeline, and it set to include case studies on best practice and how to work with NICE.
Key to the AAC’s mission is ensuring that NHS leaders, in particular those newly appointed to spearhead Integrated Care Systems, view research and innovation as integral to tackling inequalities, rather than as an optional side project.
Other key areas discussed included rethinking the way we assess the value of digital health technologies. While some tech has direct impact on a patient pathway and is therefor simpler to assess, others that produce outcomes further down the line, such as impacting waiting list management and other areas, need to be properly evaluated.
Other panellists included Alan Sumner, Head of Market Access and Public Affairs at Roche Diagnostics, and Justene Ewing, Vice President for Health and Care (UK & Australia) at CGI. Alan provided insight into Roche Diagnostics’ work with the AAC on a test for pre-eclampsia which experienced unprecedented adoption from 2018 onwards. Alan and Matt both stressed that this breakthrough had required the alignment of three different policy developments, a fortuitousness that cannot be relied upon.
As such, Matt further outlined a new suite of programmes designed to systematically knock down barriers from ideation to adoption.
techUK will continue to work with the AAC over the coming months to ensure members are kept up to date and have the chance to feed in to work on the Innovation Service and other relevant programmes.