Then & Now

January 8, 2014

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Perhaps that is why the world of healthcare innovation is so buoyant – and so important - at the moment. Without new ideas and better ways of doing things, the challenges facing today's NHS would be daunting indeed.

Last year, NISE helped develop and / or launch a host of new healthcare products and services, all originating within the NHS and all designed to improve both the efficiency of the health service and patient care and outcomes. One particularly gratifying moment was the eagerly-awaited launch of EpiCise; a new kind of biopsy forceps for use in cervical biopsies. EpiCise is specially designed to help the colposcopist excise biopsies without crushing, so that the tissue architecture is preserved. The concept for EpiCise was first brought to NISE in 2005 by Dr Stephen Hall and we worked with him - protecting and refine the idea - before we were eventually able to help Dr Hall identify the right commercial partner, Exmoor Innovations Ltd, to refine, develop, manufacture and distribute his invention.

Fortunately, not all innovations take so long to reach fruition. In fact, some have been known to complete the journey from concept to fully-fledged product within a year. But whatever the likely lead time, what matters most is that a concept's potential is recognised early and nurtured correctly. Last year, in order to assist NHS organisations with that particular challenge, we ran a short series of one day seminars across the south east. The course was aimed at senior managers and clinicians and centred on two main topics "Delivering Innovation in an evolving NHS Environment" and "Innovation Adoption; Challenges for NHS Leaders". As a result of the high demand for places and positive feedback we received from participants, we plan to run more seminars this year, which we hope will assist managers and decision makers charged with the identification and support of staff-led innovation. Watch this space for further details.

Another feature of our work in 2013 was our role in the '2023 Challenge'. NISE helped TVLA to assess competition entries and also played a key operational role in the organisation of the main event. The 2023 Challenge was originally conceived by two young doctors, Dr Alexander Finlayson and Dr Edward Maile, who both felt strongly that there is a wealth of important ideas available to the NHS from young doctors, if only they could find a route for those ideas to be heard and developed. We have invited both the doctors to be guest contributors to the NISE site over the next few months so you can read first-hand their thoughts on innovation in today's NHS.

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