Falling short: Why the NHS is still struggling to make the most of new innovations

Nuffield Trust, December 2017

Nuffield Trust report on the slow adoption of innovations by the NHS that finds it is due to:

  • An overly supply-driven and top-down approach to innovation. Shifts towards the co-production of solutions between clinicians and industry are encouraging, but initiatives such as the Innovation and Technology Tariff (while useful in some regards) do little to move the NHS away from a supply-driven approach, which starts with products first.
  • Identifying the most pressing problems and looking for solutions is rarely built into anyone’s day job – least of all clinicians. This is further compounded by a lack of clarity around how far chief executives should be involved in adopting innovation. Chief innovation officers with board oversight of the innovation process could make a fundamental difference.
  • Evidence generation (and the bodies that support it such as NIHR) are often not conducive to assessing real-world innovations in a timely way – particularly where there is a focus on cost effectiveness (rather than cost benefit).
  • Too often procurement departments and organisations as a whole look to innovations to produce short-term cash-releasing savings, rather than identifying where innovations can transform care pathways and lead to more efficient services. This requires adaptive leadership that can work across boundaries.
  • There is a tension between the policy push towards large-scale organisations (such as accountable care systems) and the capacity of SMEs to fulfil the needs of large contracts.

Click here to view the full report.