ZPB launches new expert group to tackle barriers facing health tech SMEs wanting to work with the NH

ZPB Associates announced today it is partnering with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to set up a group of experts from across the healthcare system to help health tech SMEs and local and national NHS organisations work closer together in more productive and sustainable ways.

The working group which includes NHS England, The Office of Life Sciences, The Health and Social Care Information Centre, as well as healthcare delivery organisations such as Yeovil District Hospital NHSFT, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHSFT and The Royal Free London NHSFT; and a number of leading edge SMEs, will meet several times over the next six months to explore these challenges and offer practical insights.

NHS organisations face major challenges as they strive tomeet some of the key technology commitments outlined in the Five Year Forward View.

The new expert working group is convened by ZPB Associates and supported by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, an independent charitable foundation which supports new ideas to tackle major healthcare issues. It will look at the challenges and barriers facing health tech SMEs and NHS organisations seeking to work together. These include:

  1. Creating sustainable business models that work for both SMEs and NHS organisations – while wanting to encourage a market, the NHS finds it hard to think in terms of what a commercial business model would be and what it would mean to them as a customer.

  2. Specifying a solution – Conversations often beget very different types of solutions: from self-management apps, to online access tools, to digitally delivered therapies, to clinical decision support. Each of these may entail very different business models and approaches to engaging the market.

  3. Clear routes for investment and business growth – There are a large number of innovation challenges, portals, prizes, accelerator schemes and funds for health tech innovations run by the NHS nationally and locally. This is positive in some ways but also presents a confusing and sometimes time-wasting challenge to SMEs.

  4. Clear routes to procurement – There is a confusing variety of routes to procurement, such as G-Cloud, OJEU, the lead provider framework, as well as options such as test and learn arrangements and single tender actions.

Zoe Bedford, ZPB’s chief executive, said:

“Accelerating the adoption and spread of technology-based innovation is as much a necessity for the financial health of the system as it is for improving health. We are convinced of the crucial role small and medium size tech businesses can play in delivering the aspirations of the Five Year Forward View and the National Information Board Framework. It is frustrating that some of the best British companies are looking to relocate abroad as they’ve found the NHS environment too challenging.”

“Over the next six months, we will work with the expert panel to break down some of the barriers. We will publish a set of practical guidelines to improve the contribution these SMEs can make to the current health and care challenges.”

Oliver Smith, director of strategy and innovation at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity said:

“As an organisation that supports new ideas in healthcare, we often back health tech entrepreneurs working with the NHS. There’s no doubt in our minds about the positive impact these collaborations can have on healthcare and on the people who give and receive it. By supporting this new expert group, we continue our efforts to build connections between different viewpoints and skill sets to drive radical, lasting change in healthcare.”

The working group will report its findings in early 2016 and is initially keen to discuss and recommend a number of key points to the market and policy makers including:

  1. Creating a typology of business models, according to the different purposes of healthcare data and technology innovations

  2. A set of minimum standards for useful, sustainable health tech

  3. Explain and signpost sources of support for innovators as well as possible procurement routes

  4. Help NHS organisations think through long-term investment and nurturing of successful SMEs and co-creation of value

The panel includes:

  1. Oliver Smith – Director of Strategy and Innovation, Guys and St Thomas’ Charity

  2. Alex Kafetz – Director of Strategy, ZPB Associates

  3. Andy Williams – Chief Executive, HSCIC

  4. Helen Rowntree – Head of Digital Services, NHS England

  5. Catherine Page – Director, Office for Life Sciences

  6. Caroline Clarke – Chief Finance Officer, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

  7. Ian Abbs – Medical Director, Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

  8. Jonty Heaversedge – Chair, Southwark CCG

  9. Jake Arnold-Forster – NHS & SME Commercial Advisor

  10. Simon Lilley – Commercial Director, Yeovil Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

  11. Rob Berry – Chair, AHSN Network Commercial Directorate

  12. Tracey Watson – Head of Partners and Commercial, NHS England

  13. Barnaby Perks – CEO, Ieso Digital Health

  14. Tom Whicher – CEO, DrDoctor

  15. Peter Greengross – Medical Director, The Learning Clinic

  16. Michael Brooks – Chief Medical Officer, Patient Source

  17. Jonathan Cutler – UK Advisor, Health 2.0

  18. Felix Jackson – Founder, medDigital

  19. Chris Jessop – CEO, Expert-24

  20. Bruce Hellman, CEO, Umotif

For more information or to find out how your organisation can participate or join the expert panel please contact Alex Kafetz, alex@zpb-associates.com or 07826 552 349.