SETsquared Blog

From bench to bedside: the challenges of taking a healthcare technology from idea to patient benefit

The SETsquared Partnership is working in collaboration with the four Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) in the South of England to promote the uptake of innovation in healthcare.

For quite some time we had seen there was potential to partner with the NHS and initially approached them with SETsquared’s Open Innovation Programme in mind.  What we jointly realised was that the real need they had was SETsquared’s support in driving forward innovators both within the NHS and those external to it with viable ideas for healthcare technologies.

Getting a technology adopted within the NHS is not straightforward. It is not simply one large monolithic organisation but made up of many 100s of commissioning organisations and provider bodies. There are of course significant issues of regulation and approval to overcome and also many different user bodies often need to come together to agree changes to the way in which patient care is delivered. Therefore getting a new technology adopted in a reasonable timeframe and at a reasonable cost is a real challenge and one, which through our new agreement with the AHSNs, we’re helping a new breed of innovators overcome.

Within the four AHSN regions that we’re working with, we initially run a Connection Day event which is about bringing innovators and their sponsors together to generate a greater awareness of the critical importance of innovation to healthcare improvement and understanding what obstacles need to be overcome to help that happen. These days should also set the environment that enables people to realise the value of innovation and importance coaching and training of innovators.

In parallel we have launched a series of three-day intensive Healthcare Innovation Programmes for innovators who have a business proposition or an innovative idea and who are committed to building it into a viable innovation or enterprise. The course covers all aspects of starting and financing a new idea, tailored to the needs to those in the healthcare market.

It’s early in the process, however we’ve already seen an eclectic range of innovations being proposed, from products that will directly reduce cases premature death in hospitals through to mobile technologies which weren’t necessarily developed with healthcare in mind but have definite applications in this space.

I’m really committed to seeing SETsquared being a major contributor to facilitating change in the healthcare sector. We are identifying other geographical areas where we can add substantial value in driving forward the innovations which will transform the smart healthcare of the future.

What are your experiences of commercialising a healthcare technology?