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Why we have launched Further Faster

By Alex Kafetz

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ZPB are delighted to have launched Further, Faster – the first part of

The idea for this piece of work originated about nine months ago when I attended a run-of-the-mill health digital conference and two things happened:

Firstly, at a session from one of central NHS senior leaders talking about ‘harnessing the digital revolution’, I asked how they were planning to involve SMEs, and received a very vague answer about ‘getting everyone in the room, and all ideas are welcome’. This is not what I wanted to hear, which was that:

  1. SMEs are key to the solution

  2. There is no need for the centre to re-invent innovations happening in the market and;

  3. They are ready to procure ‘best in class’, whomever the supplier

Secondly, at the plenary wrap-up, a guy from a SME berated the panel, saying that he felt it was all too difficult, the conference hadn’t helped at all, and he had no faith that the NHS would ever work with companies like his own, and he was giving up. Panel members tried to convince him not to, but couldn’t really give much help.

It occurred to me on the way home, that we were in a position to help that SME business owner and many of his colleagues.

By we, I firstly mean ZPB. Those of you who have worked with us know how passionate we are about health tech SMEs, the work we do to promote them and help them become successful, and championing a mixed economy as the best way to keep the NHS free at the point of need.

And by ‘we’ I also mean people visiting this website. Many of you have successfully created partnerships between the NHS and SMEs, and I knew we could help capture what worked, and what didn’t and share it creatively. We need your stories, videos, case studies and blogs.

Originally this project was going to just be a collection of papers but it’s morphed into a much larger resource:

  1. We’ve published three insight papers giving advice to the NHS, to SMEs and tried to articulate what support we would like and not like, from central NHS bodies

  2. We’ve also told the stories of some of our panel members, who have been able to overcome the hurdles and form successful partnerships through blogs and case studies

But the important thing to say is that this is the start of the process, not the end. We want Further, Faster to become the best and most extensive online library of advice and tips for the NHS and SMEs.

I think it’s incredibly important that the NHS utilises the skills and products from health tech SMEs if we are going to meet the technology commitments of the Five Year Forward View and achieve the vision the National Information Board has set out.

And we need your help.

We want all of you to use and improve this resource to make this happen. So if you’d like to join our movement, submit a blog or case study, tweet about the site and most importantly, whether you’re from an SME or the NHS, use the content to take your digital ambition, well, further and faster.

We hope you find this resource useful – please let us know if you do.

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