James Roach and Johnny Skillicorn-Aston present an interesting case for localising the work of the Accelerated Access Collaborative
Innovation in the NHS can be characterised as stop-start, often resulting in an unacceptable lag between invention and inception. Failure to capitalise on advancements in health science and technology has, at times, held back transformation and limited the rate at which innovations can be turned into patient benefits.
Published in 2016, the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) set out a new multidimensional vision; in fact, a 4-D vision.1 Its areas of focus were:
- digital products.
These areas of focus represent prime drivers that will carry innovation through the system, bringing tangible benefits to patients and improving the UK’s position in the international life‑sciences sector. The recommendations of the AAR led to the establishment of the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), which has the objective of driving the uptake and adoption of innovation in the NHS.2
This year, the remit of the AAC was expanded and, under the leadership of Dr Sam Roberts, it will become the umbrella body for health innovation, supporting innovators, and setting strategy.3 Its new chief executive has been open about some of the challenges the NHS faces when it comes to pushing innovation through the system. In May 2019, she cited funding, custom and practice, and ownership of innovation within the system as among the issues to be tackled.4
AHSNs: the key NHS transformation arm
While improving funding requires putting incentives in the right place for innovators, providers, and commissioners, and altering custom and practice requires changes to healthcare roles, procurement, and clinical settings, ownership needs to be a core responsibility so that good innovation can be identified and spread. This is now the role of the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).