INNOVATION UK HEALTHCARE Showing the solution works in the real world Demonstrating that a product works and validating its use is a critical part of the NIC's func-tion. Examples currently include software that helps protect staff from violent patients; the potential benefits to staff and the NHS are significant, and the system is be-ing assessed in a growing number of Trusts. Another innovation is a technology that cleans instru-ments of bacteria ( prions) that cannot be eradicated by traditional autoclaving. The NIC is aiming to set up demonstrations to show the efficacy of the process on known contaminated instruments Sharing the results Although the NIC's job finishes once a product is market ready, it has strong links with the NHS Sup-ply Chain who can give an early as-sessment of market potential and are kept informed of any products that are getting near to market. The NIC also selects examples of excellent innovation and show-cases them on its website www. nic. nhs/ showcase. It then brings this to the attention of the rel-evant interested clinical communi-ties. Showing a new product every month, the NIC selects from across the innovation landscape, both UK and internationally. Using video footage and animations to illus-trate the innovation, the Show-case offers an economic analysis of the value to the patient and the NHS as well as access to related re-search. In October 2009, the site will also have a ' chat room' where interested parties can discuss the innovation privately with users. Current Showcase examples in-clude a new surgical procedure in tracheal transplant, a clinical waste management system and a virtual reality ( Haptics) training simulator. Stimulating the market As well as proactively identify-ing needs, the NIC also receives hundreds of ideas each year that arrive unprompted from innova-tors. In order to respond to the huge number of ideas, the NIC has developed an innovation manage-ment system via a set of online tools www. nic. nhs. uk and offline services. These provide a one- stop shop for innovators who want to assess their ideas and access com-mercial advice. The key tool is a Scorecard that allows innovators to assess their ideas for themselves. As the in-novator works through the Score-card's exacting analysis, he can get access to a wealth of additional information that will help him ne-gotiate more rapid entry into the NHS. All of the NIC web- based tools comply with EU commission-ing requirements and are ISO9001 accredited. Estimated costs of violent be-haviour towards staff in the NHS run to millions of pounds each year. The NIC's Scorecard allows innovators to assess their ideas for them-selves in confidence. The NIC's Showcase acts as an open innovation platform where companies from the UK and overseas can have their products demonstrated, and where relevant financial organisations can learn about investment opportunities.
HEALTHCARENational Innovation Centre www. nic. nhs. uk Commissioning innovation - sharing the learning As well as carrying out its dual pol-icy agenda, the NIC also works, on behalf of the DH, across other government departments to de-velop innovative commissioning systems and measurement tools. One of the key aims in doing this is to share innovation across or-ganisation boundaries in order to leverage success, minimise dupli-cation of effort and maximise the potential to collaborate. The NIC is also developing a new service that will scan for new technology on the horizon - both in the UK and internationally. Measuring innovation Efforts to understand how we measure and absorb innovation in a public- sector context are be-ing led nationally by DBIS and globally by OECD. As one of the future pillars of the UK economy, life sciences and healthcare tech-nology will need to measure the impact that healthcare innova-tion programmes are making. The Department of Health and The NHS National Innovation Centre are playing an active role in evaluating progress. Initial ideas include: . Measuring the value of inno-vations to UK PLC ( a financial measure); . Measuring the value of in-novations to patients ( a QALY measure); . A measure indicating whether staff feel that the NHS is an in-novative place to work ( a staff survey measure); . A measure that shows the vol-ume of ideas that are generat-ed, grown and diffused in the NHS ( a quantitative measure). Thorough measurement will help to indicate if programmes are working and, importantly, reveal much sooner where goals are not being met. The programme will also develop a simple and useful set of organisational innovation metrics which will provide a di-agnostic tool that organisations can use themselves to assess and improve their ability to innovate and/ or contribute to the innova-tion ecology. Back to the Future The primary aim of the NIC's emerging horizon scanning func-tion, run on behalf of the DH, is to identify the existing medical technology innovations in other countries as well as the innova-tions that are likely to come to the market in five to seven years' time. The NIC horizon scanning service will also profile future technologies on its Showcase http:// www. showcase. nic. nhs. uk/ and the horizon scanning sec-tion of the website will provide decision- makers with easy, online access to innovation information to inform their strategic invest-ment decisions. Brian Winn says: " Innovation is clearly the buzz word of the dec-ade, but to realise its potential, we need to go beyond the word itself. We need to ask ourselves how we are going to get those innovations into use - and quick-ly. We also need to make sure the lessons we are learning in healthcare are shared across the economy as a whole." A Reading- based SME ap-proached the NIC in 2007 with a prototype for a non- invasive blood glucose meter. The idea was that a hand- held meter would replace the finger stick methods currently used by people with diabetes to test blood glucose levels and, instead, would take a painless reading from the eye. MD, Dan Daly, said: " I put the product through the NIC's web-based ' Scorecard' to begin with, and carried out a confidential assessment myself of the device using the NIC's rigorous tools. I then contacted the NIC and asked for further support. Their advice on markets, business strategy, legal requirements and arranging NHS introductions for validation was invaluable". Dr Dan Daly, innovator of the hand- held meter, sought help from the NIC's online and added value- advice services Stimulating the Market - a case study