Supporting and signposting

We support industry and other innovators through:

  1. Innovator engagement which enables companies to connect with AHSNs and the NHS in a structured and purposeful way
  2. Providing tailored support to innovators who are unfamiliar with the innovation landscape and the support available,  including the support from AHSNs
  3. Offering pre-scaling support to ensure that innovators, who believe they are ready to sell to the NHS, have undertaken sufficient preparation. We help them to present their value proposition clearly and plan their market access approach more effectively.

We continue to drive convergence in approaches across the national AHSN Network, embedding robust assessment approaches to considering value propositions, as well as responding to needs articulation from the health and care sector.

Supporting industry

Our support to industry includes providing connections that facilitate knowledge transfer and access to additional specialist expertise.

We have developed strong relationships with other key agencies and programmes in the innovation landscape, such as Innovate UK, NIHR, NICE, BIVDA, ABHI, DHACA, Medilink, and signpost innovators to them as appropriate. 

For earlier stage companies we will have specific signposting towards professional business services provided by the business networks such as SEHTA (South East Health Technologies Alliance), SETSquared (a south of England, university-based network of business support services) and MedCity, as well as signposting to support services offered by other AHSNs.

This is a highly valued service; many innovators wishing to work in the health sector report that they are often not aware of where to go to for help and support in developing their innovative products and services.

We also connect industry with internal teams such as our technology navigators, analysts or delivery programme managers. 

Working collaboratively with many different players enable us to offer support to industry from the early stages, through to the crucial pre-scaling phase and on to wider spread and adoption. Often our relationship with a company is likely to be over many months and sometimes many years, as they progress in parallel with other support processes.

Case study – Dr Julian

Dr Julian is an innovative mental healthcare platform that increases accessibility of mental healthcare, connecting patients almost immediately to mental healthcare therapists by secure video/audio/text appointments. 

Specifically it offers an alternative to face to face therapy in person by offering therapist appointments at the time that suits the person. There is also a range of therapists from different disciplines so the person is able to select that which is most suitable for them. The platform links into Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in England.

KSS AHSN began supporting the team behind Dr Julian last summer, after its CEO attended one of our Market Insight Briefings.

These briefings are free 90-minute sessions designed to help healthcare innovators to understand the complexities of the NHS and develop their market access strategy. They mark the first stage of support available from the KSS AHSN Industry team.

Through a series of 1:1 surgeries we were able to help Dr Julian to identify its value proposition and to review the evidence of outcomes. This allowed us to see where the gaps in that evidence were and to introduce them to our Insights team for further support to close those gaps with a more robust independent evaluation.

While Dr Julian had anecdotal evidence that its approach reduced waiting times, improved patient outcomes for depression and anxiety and offered socio-economic and health system financial benefits compared to traditional therapy, there was no actual evidence base for this. 

We’ve worked extensively with the company, developing a health economic model that compares outcomes between Dr Julian and current NHS patient outcomes with traditional therapy approaches

Using data across four providers currently using Dr Julian, and the extensive public IAPT dataset, the health economic modelling showed an NHS return of £1.33, and a total return (including social benefits) of £2.83 for every £1 spent over 5-years.

We’ve continued to develop the relationship with the company, acting as a critical friend, providing insight and advice on a range of issues – from helping the innovators to prepare for a key member of staff’s maternity leave, to exploring potential new markets, and supporting an intern to develop a marketing strategy to engage with universities.

KSS AHSN has offered ongoing support for the company throughout its journey, and we’re now working with it to effectively use the health economic model effectively.

Additionally we have been brokering conversation for Dr Julian with the mental health trusts in the KSS region and feeding back value insight from commissioners and clinicians to the company.

With the emergence of COVID-19 there is a great opportunity for online mental health therapy in current IAPT step 3 treatment and to address the backlog in mental health appointments in a flexible way.

The ongoing input from KSS AHSN has placed Dr Julian in a strong position to expand its offering and positively impact health services to citizens across the NHS.