A scheme aimed at speeding up the introduction of innovation in the health service is striving to overcome barriers to adoption of new products. The Clinical Services Journal reports.
Innovation is a key part of the Department of Health’s Quality Innovation Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) programme introduced to improve services for patients and generate the £20 billion efficiency savings required by the NHS to help the government tackle our national debt. It can not only help increase NHS Trusts’ productivity but also improve their finances. An NHS Confederation report, Leading Innovation, recommended that NHS Trusts should constantly look at new practices and technologies to save money and drive efficiency. The report found that the barriers to introducing innovation included excessive bureaucracy, lack of access to budgets to support the costs of implementing innovation, and a climate of risk-aversion. To help speed up access to the latest equipment and products, NHS Supply Chain worked with the NHS National Innovation Centre (NIC) to develop a new process. The end result was “Innovation Scorecard” – an online portal that encourages suppliers of all sizes to register market-ready products for contract consideration. It works alongside the NIC’s own pre-market Scorecard to ensure that the widest ranges of innovations are available to the NHS. “Innovation Scorecard provides us with a mechanism to assess whether new products are innovative by looking at their concept, value and capacity,” said Elaine Alsop, executive buyer at NHS Supply Chain. “The end result gives the NHS access to the latest products and technological advances to benefit patient care.”
Since NHS Supply Chain launched Innovation Scorecard a year ago, it has received around 100 applications and introduced a wide array of products aimed at improving healthcare and providing enhanced patient care. Product applications are thoroughly assessed to ensure that prospective products deliver the best value to the NHS and are truly innovative. During the evaluation process additional clinical feedback may be obtained via NHS Supply Chain’s Task Force programme. Task Force members have specialist knowledge in a specific clinical area and provide expert insight into clinical requirements during the procurement process, enabling NHS Supply Chain to provide the best value products to the NHS. If, after this process, the product is deemed to be innovative and add value to the NHS, the product will be made available on a pilot contract to test adoption, and the full EU tender process will be undertaken in due course. Each successful product receives three months worth of marketing from NHS Supply Chain and is placed on the “New Product Showcase”, which is accessible from their website and is also emailed to NHS Supply Chain customers. The following innovations have been introduced through the Innovation Scorecard.
The first innovative product to be introduced in July 2010 was a disposable tourniquet designed to combat the risk of hospital infections. Two junior doctors found that tourniquets – a strap used around a patient’s arm while taking blood samples – were being used over and over again and a prime place for cross infection to occur. Reusable tourniquets are typically used for around 40 million procedures each year in the NHS, and the doctors found through their own investigation that a considerable amount of bacteria grew on them. Consequently, they began developing a practical single-use tourniquet to overcome the problem.
Cygnetic surgical instrument handle and blades
The Cygnetic handle is designed to assist the OR nurse with safe and easy blade attachment and removal before, during and after the procedure. By lifting the lever to the vertical position the main body slides back allowing the blade to be simply placed into the handle. The lever can then be pushed back towards the main body of the handle until it engages with an audible click. The blade is now firmly locked into the usage position. If the blade is ready to change, or in order to dispose of the final contaminated sharp after the end of the procedure, just reverse the process. Once the lever is back in the vertical position and the blade is unlocked it can be dropped without additional handling into an appropriate sharps counter or box. The handle can now be sent to the decontamination services department with the other instruments where it can be stripped down into three component parts for cleaning and reassembly ready for the next procedure.
Vision VIS and ALD
Vaginal infections are a widespread problem among women of all ages. While some vaginal infections are accompanied with complaints of discharge, close to 50% of infection cases have no such symptoms. The Vision VIS is a swab used to detect Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Trichomoniasis. BV may cause complications, especially in the course of pregnancy and childbirth. The Vision ALD is an innovative self test which detects the leaking of amniotic fluid over a continuous period of time. Risk of amniotic fluid leak is higher than normal during the 48 hours after amniocentesis tests, or when encountering unidentified wetness, or among women with a history of Premature Membrane Rupture. The device works by attaching a special panty liner to underwear and if wetness is experienced, the strip will reveal whether the wetness is either urine leakage or amniotic fluid leakage.
RenehaVis was designed for the relief from osteoarthritis of the knee symptoms by providing support and lubrication to the knee joint. It is an innovative injection that is made from two clear solutions of sterile sodium yaluronate in a phosphate buffered saline contained in a two chamber pre-filled syringe for single intra-articular injection into the synovial space of the joint. The dosage regimen is injected into the affected synovial joint space once a week for up to three injections depending on the severity of the degenerative change to the knee joint. In trials it has demonstrated pain relief for up to four months for patients with grade one to three medial compartment osteoarthritis.
LeGoo Vessel Occlusion Gel
LeGoo is the latest product to be added onto contract via Innovation Scorecard. Designed to be used in vascular surgeries, LeGoo is a water-soluble, low-viscosity gel which forms a gel plug at body temperature and conforms to any vascular geometry. LeGoo temporarily stents the vessel to facilitate constructing the anastomosis and allows for suturing directly through the gel. Once the procedure is completed, LeGoo is dissolved via the application of ice, reducing the gel back to a liquid which passes through the microcirculation and is excreted in urine. To find out more about innovation at NHS Supply Chain please visit: www.supplychain.nhs.uk/innovation
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