What is innovation? Spotlight on innovation in primary care

1st April 2022

We’re delighted to be launching our new Digital Pioneers programme, to support and drive forward digital health ideas and innovations in primary care.

In this blog, Emma Richardson, Innovation Manager, reflects on some of the pioneering innovations in the NHS throughout the pandemic and introduces how our NHS innovators in primary care can bring innovative ideas to life.

Hello April!

For most people, the month of April often begins with jokes and pranks, but not here at the AHSN NENC! April marks the launch of our Digital Pioneers programme – a programme of work in the North East and North Cumbria that aims to support and drive forward digital innovations in primary care. As we step into spring, we celebrate brighter, longer days and freedoms that many of us haven’t had for over two years due to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. We can also begin to reflect on some of the new technology that primary care has embraced in response to the pandemic – online and video consultations, optimisation of electronic prescribing tools, patient information videos, mental health support apps – to name a few. All of these ideas were rolled out predominantly in General Practice, but utilised by Dentists, Optometrists and Pharmacists too, demonstrating not only a need for digital innovation but also a want, by both patients and NHS staff. We know that primary care staff are brimming with digital ideas that could improve patient care, transform services, and develop new products. That brings me to the most important questions – What are the innovative ideas hidden in primary care? And where do we find these hidden gems? The answer to the latter question is simple…within our regions primary care workforce.

Any member of staff who works in primary care can have an innovative idea, and here at the AHSN NENC we often refer to these people as innovators. As a Programme Manager, it’s part of my role to help find innovators and work with them to develop their ideas using our established Innovation Pathway. The beauty of the Innovation Pathway is that an innovator can enter at any point, be it at the very early proof of concept stage or the idea might be ready for real world evaluation, we have the knowledge and expertise to support to spread and adoption.

So, what now?

The Digital Pioneers programme has launched! Join us at our first virtual showcase event on 28th April to find out how we can transform digital care in the region (more details and sign up below).

Now, we create connections, we develop ideas, we innovate.

We work in partnership to support innovators to drive innovation in primary care.

Sign up for our Digital Innovation in Primary Care Showcase online event

Join primary care colleagues from across the region on Thursday 28th April to discuss how we can develop and deploy digital innovation in primary care and how this can benefit patients and staff in the North East and North Cumbria.

As part of a series, this webinar will help to develop a broader understanding of the needs and challenges in primary care and identify areas where innovation could save money, relieve clinical pressures, and improve patient care.

Register your place here.

For more information, please contact Emma at [email protected]

The AHSN NENC is delighted to be working in partnership with Digital First Primary Care on this programme.