ICS, News

NHSE case studies focus on partnerships and innovation across ICSs

NHS England has shared a series of case studies, co-developed between the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) and partners, on the implementation approaches of local integrated care systems to promote the adoption and expansion of successful innovation strategies.

The studies explore the various ways in which ICSs can facilitate innovation through leadership, culture, organisational structures, addressing health inequalities and collaborative partnerships. Here, we will look at some of the case studies, summarising key findings and outcomes.

Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, South Yorkshire ICS and West Yorkshire ICS

Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) partnered with South Yorkshire ICS and West Yorkshire ICS to establish two Innovation Hubs in the Yorkshire region.

The hubs have strengthened links between the ICSs and AHSN, enabling them to develop a shared nuanced understanding of local needs and priorities, which could be addressed through innovation. The case study states that the collaboration and utilisation of the organisations’ respective roles and expertise has fostered greater co-production of solutions and faster adoption of innovation.

The study states: “Innovation doesn’t simply exist in isolation, so the Innovation Hubs also play an important role in the system around creating the conditions for effective innovation.”

It is said that the AHSN is in conversation with the remaining ICS in their region with regards to establishing a similar model, and will continue to evolve the role of the two existing hubs in response to changing system needs.

Eastern AHSN and Suffolk and North East Essex (SNEE) ICS 

A Head of Innovation role has been co-funded by the Eastern AHSN and SNEE ICS as part of a larger ambition to develop a culture of innovation across the health and care system.

The case study states: “This initiative represents a new way of working for the ICS and the knowledge, trust and relationships created by the post holder’s work has given the ICS the confidence to make additional in-year investments of around £0.5m into evidence-based innovative technologies which would not otherwise have occurred.”

As a result of the new role, the ICS has introduced digital tools and pathways such as AI-supported technology, digital education systems for staff and patients, clinical decision support tools and devices used to support asthma diagnosis. The post holder has also gained industry support through the AHSN to explore the development of new care pathways, in alignment with the ICS’s ‘higher ambitions’ and strategic priorities, and has been part-funded by an industry partner.

The ICS has become an early implementer of a digital test for acute kidney disease and Eastern AHSN has identified early opportunities to support the ICS’s net zero strategy which it will continue to explore in the future.

Greater Manchester ICS and Health Innovation Manchester

There is a shared understanding amongst Greater Manchester (GM) ICS around the importance of health research and innovation, particularly in terms of addressing health inequalities and unlocking economic potential.

This understanding has culminated in the formation of Health Innovation Manchester (HInM) which brings together “the health and care system with industry and academia to accelerate health research and innovation into practice.”

HInM has combined the Greater Manchester AHSN, National Institute for Health and Care Applied Research Collaboration (NIHR ARC), Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) and GM Digital Transformation Office into one integrated delivery organisation, enabling HInM to offer a range of capabilities to deliver again regional and national priorities.

HInM delivered several successful innovation projects including:

  • The ‘smart hearts’ project, aiming to digitally transform the heart failure pathway using data from implantable devices
  • A programme to eliminate Hepatitis C through rapid point of care testing and curative treatments in prisons and via community outreach
  • The deployment of the rainbow specialist clinic across maternity units to support complex pregnancies, providing early engagement and additional care
  • The Inclisiran real world study, testing novel cholesterol lowering medicines in primary care enabled by digital cohort finding and outcome monitoring

Looking ahead, HInM is developing a life sciences and health tech industry strategy to optimise collaboration.

Dorset ICS Innovation Hub

The Dorset Innovation Hub, one of four hubs across England funded by The Health Foundation (HF), is led by University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the Dorset ICS.

It aims to support sustainable adoption of “proven innovation in line with local priorities that can improve health and social care outcomes, equality of care and accessibility across Dorset.”

The hub was established in 2021 following a successful bid from the Health Foundation (HF). The hub’s core team works alongside clinical and operational teams within Dorset ICS to deliver system priority innovation projects, whilst providing training and support to all ICS staff.

Robust mechanisms were established to measure the impact of the hub’s projects and long term objectives, which has highlighted the importance of having a clear, shared vision of innovation to ensure cohesive efforts and actions to enable change.

Dorset ICS is planning to fully embed an evaluation approach into forthcoming projects going forward and further develop their innovation platform.

For more information on the ICS case studies, please click here.