Opinion

HETT Show: NHS and industry collaboration, what’s new?

ZPB were at the Healthcare Excellence Through Technology conference this week, talking to providers and system leaders about exciting health tech stuff on the horizon and finding out what’s keeping them up at night.

Effective collaboration between the NHS and industry remains a hot topic, especially in the realm of facilitating digital transformation, a space full of private sector innovation. A session on Day 2: Building Bridges: Facilitating NHS and Industry Collaboration promised to share best practice approaches to break down barriers between Public and Private sectors.

From the offset, the panel was keen to dispel the myth that the NHS isn’t innovative, but blamed poor uptake of innovation on its lack of bandwidth. So, while discovery of new tech isn’t a problem, the systematic scaling of digital solutions is, and NHS X guru, Tara Donnelly, suggested the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) has an important future role in encouraging faster adoption.

There was also a call for the NHS to invest in the skill-mix of its staff, with suggestions there is a lack of informed customers making decisions. To this end, they felt the NHS should be at the forefront, driving the market and creating the demand, rather than relying on transformation to be industry-led.

While it’s clear the NHS know its patients and should be a driving force for adoption of fancy new tech, getting its staff up to speed is clearly the crucial first step. Industry is perfectly poised to assist. And anyway, isn’t collaboration about involving expertise and experience from all sides?

Everyone went away warm and fuzzy from this NHS love-in – someone even mentioned the need for industry to ‘give the NHS a hug’. While there is excitement for the future and how the NHS will rise to the challenge, it’s important to celebrate and encourage the role all parties must play, as no-one will succeed in going it alone.