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NHS failing to adopt innovations aimed at improving patients’ lives

Adoption of high impact innovations aimed at improving millions of patients’ lives is patchy and inconsistent across the NHS in England, a new report from the Medical Technology Group has revealed.

Six recommendations by NHS Improvement & Efficiency, Innovation and Service Improvement in December 2011 are not being adopted across the board, with some regions of the country drastically underperforming.

The NHS’s Innovation, Health & Wealth report identified six areas where patient care could be improved through high impact innovations. Our report found the NHS is falling short in all of them.

3MillionLives: the use of telehealth and remote monitoring was designed to improve the lives of three million people in five years, by reducing emergency hospital admissions and hospital bed days.

Our report found that just 45% of regions have agreed new models for technology provision with providers.

Oesophageal Doppler Monitoring: minimally invasive technology to assess the fluid status of patients and ensure they are safe. ODM combats hypovolaemia – a reduction in circulating blood volume that almost all patients in surgery or Accident & Emergency develop. Hypovolaemia can cause medical complications including peripheral and major organ failure, which if not dealt with quickly can lead to severe compromise or even death.

We found that just 40% of Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs) were working with local providers on intra-operative fluid management (IOFM) targets.

Child in a chair in a day: NHS waiting times for wheelchairs for disabled children have often been 200 days or more. The promised ‘Child in a chair in a day’ programme aimed to get disabled children into an appropriate wheelchair within a day, working with the charity Whizz-Kidz. However, the data reveals poor implementation on every measure.

Only 12% of Trusts had developed an action plan around the delivery of mobility services for children. On average the wait for a wheelchair was 50 days.

International and Commercial Activity: the goal was to work with UK Trade and Investment to increase national and international healthcare activity.

Although two-thirds of Trusts has a strategy in place to make use of the intellectual property they developed, only 6% of CCGs had agreed payments relating to international and commercial activity.

Digital by default: one of the goals of the Innovation, Health & Wealth report was to reduce unnecessary face to face meetings, for example through the use of email, meaning less inconvenience for patients and better use of NHS resources. Every 1% reduction in face to face contact saves £200 million.

Although CCGs and Trusts are working very well together, there is vast regional variation.

Support for carers of people with dementia: the Innovation Health & Wealth report calls on the NHS to commission dementia services in line with NICE-SCIE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence / Social Care Institute for Excellence) guidance. 94% of CCGs are working with local providers to ensure carers receive relevant information where there is diagnosis of dementia.

More than half of CCGs had failed to formulate Commissioning for quality and innovation (CQUIN) criteria for this area, suggesting room for improvement.

Download the report.

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