25 May 2021

Developing collaboration between the NHS and industry partners

It’s no secret the NHS needs industry to develop innovation, but industry must understand the needs of the NHS in order to provide solutions. Head of Data and Analytics Julia Wilkins explains why building a collaborative working relationship between the two is key.

The relationship between NHS and the life science industry is an evolving one, particularly given the events of the pandemic which has seen innovation adopted at pace. Industry is transforming itself from a traditional ‘selling’ model to one more centred on collaboration to meet common goals of improved patient outcomes and more efficient use of NHS resources.

From conversations with industry partners we know they are keen to support analytical capability within the health and care sectors to help implement new data-driven technologies, such as machine-learning algorithms and Artificial IntelIigence. These technologies could drive rapid diagnosis and better management of health conditions.

Data determines the impact

Data are essential to the development of these technologies, and the NHS has some of the best healthcare data in the world, but this is only accessible to NHS analysts or academic researchers. Fortunately for industry this is one of the areas where the Health Economics Unit can help as we have access to the trusted research environments containing deidentified integrated data, which means we can quantify the impact of new innovations on health systems.

Using this longitudinal real-world integrated data we can follow de-identified patients over time. This gives us a holistic view over a number of years and allows us to create a ‘proof of evaluation model’ relating to the innovation in question. It’s very difficult to prove cost effectiveness on a single admission, but looking at a patient’s journey over time shows pathway resource utilisation which makes the budget impact of that technology far easier to create.

Once we’ve modelled the impact within one Integrated Care System (ICS) area this model could then be given to another ICS to run these models in their own area. Using their own data they can see in real terms what impact it’s going to make on resources, patient outcomes and importantly, health inequalities.

With the NHS facing a momentous challenge of recovering from the pandemic, innovations that will help relieve the pressure on resources and aid efficiencies are needed more than ever. By quantifying the impact a certain technology can have using real-world integrated data we are not only helping industry but supporting the ICS’s to make the best decisions for their population.

The acceleration of innovation with vaccines during the global Covid-19 pandemic is the perfect example of why collaboration is needed between the NHS and industry partners.

Expertise to bridge the link between industry and NHS

The Health Economics Unit consists of experts with NHS and industry backgrounds with a solid understanding of the system now and how it’s evolving. We are best placed to facilitate working relationships between the two to ensure innovations meet a need as well as quantifying the impact they could have. On a most basic level the NHS wants to know what impact the innovation will have to their specialty area, but industry can’t do that without having access to the data insights to create this model. We are here to bridge that gap, speed things along and deliver solutions into the NHS to support the NHS Long Term Plan ambitions.

It’s important for industry to understand the environment in which the NHS is operating and the requirement for more efficient use of resources. More people need to be treated in their own homes or in primary care which means there is a lot of scope to develop technology such as remote monitoring or screening for certain conditions.

There’s absolutely no shortage of ideas but the barrier to industry is often timely and cost-effective access to real-world integrated data. The Health Economics team can facilitate this access and with their advanced analytical and health economics capabilities can deliver the evidence that will really make an impact.

To find out more about how we can work with you please contact us.

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