“Creating a culture of innovation is key” Calls for new ophthalmology solutions in NHS Scotland

InnoScot Health has shared a call for “forward-thinking ophthalmic solutions that can help NHS Scotland to strengthen and make meaningful change in this priority area.”

The ophthalmology innovation call offers a package of support for those with fresh ideas in this area, including up to £25,000 of initial funding, regulatory support, project management, and the innovation expertise of InnoScot Health’s multidisciplinary team.

The package has been designed primarily for health and social care staff, with InnoScott Health describing their intention to maximise on the talent and experience of NHS staff. However, they are also willing to assess and support ideas from students, members of the public, start-ups, SMEs and established companies that would benefit from collaboration with the NHS.

Project assessment will take into account viability, regulatory considerations, commercial feasibility, clinical evaluation and technical considerations, though InnoScot Health says that these will be “flexible and proportionate to the urgency and need for the idea.” There is no set limit on how many projects will be supported.

In a blog post, InnoScot Health’s head of innovation Robert Rea notes that NHS Scotland’s ophthalmologists are best-placed to identify unmet medical needs, bottlenecks in clinical ophthalmology, and patient requirements both present and future. “However, like all health and social care staff, ophthalmologists are extremely busy and often do not have the commercial skillset to create and develop the solution that is required and best fits the need.

“That is where collaborative relationships come in – fundamentally, identifying the right partners to take forward a great ophthalmic idea and tapping into the knowledge of those with innovation expertise in idea evaluation, intellectual property protection, regulation, project management, product development and more, in order to realise the full potential of an idea.”

The blog notes that “promising ideas” have been submitted so far on a variety of topics, including medical devices, digital therapy for eye conditions, new ways of improving technology for retinal disease diagnosis, and better management of patients undergoing cataract surgery.

Robert adds: “Creating a culture of innovation is key to dealing with a variety of issues across NHS Scotland – and it’s no different in ophthalmology services. If that is to be overcome, then InnoScot Health believes that new ophthalmic ideas will be key to unlocking the solution.”

Ideas can be submitted here.