Hotwire’s partner agency Political Intelligence, who are coordinating the Health Tech Alliance, describe the political outlook for health tech
The Health Tech Alliance – working with the health service to alleviate the current market access obstacles
Health technologies undoubtedly have an important role to play in patient care. They have the potential to transform patient outcomes as well as deliver efficiencies of care within the health system. With this in mind, the UK Government recently set out its desire to see Health Tech, along with Ad Tech and FinTech deliver a contribution of £200 billion to the economy by 2025.
The Government has, of course, taken a number of important strides in harnessing health tech – the Accelerated Access Review, published in October 2016, set out plans for how access to devices, devices and medical technologies could be sped up for NHS patients. The Government, however, is yet to formally respond to the Review’s recommendations despite the Review itself saying that the country’s slow adoption of transformational innovations “cannot continue”. Similarly, two new digital platforms – NHS Digital Apps Library and Mobile Health space were launched this April to showcase NHS-approved apps that people can trust and are proven to improve the patient experience.
However, with the dust having just settled on another election, with an outcome of potential instability and/or domestic inertia (whilst the Government focuses on delivering Brexit) there is a real threat to the ambition of delivering a truly thriving health tech sector, at a time when its desperately needed. Alongside this, the health service is already having to deal with a number of issues, all of which require immediate attention. The ailing social care system (which faces a £2.1 billion funding gap by 2019/20), pressures on the health and social care workforce (with a huge fall in nurse registrations from EU countries after the referendum), the delivery of sustainability and transformation plans, and a desire to see mental health given parity of treatment, all paint a stark picture of the pressures currently on the NHS.
Within all of this, it is unclear how much priority can realistically be given to health technologies. March’s publication of the ‘Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View’ expressed continued support for the potential of technology and innovation, but was disappointingly light on detail as to how these would be successfully adopted by the health service. How can the positive rhetoric turn into real change to frontline services? How can we ensure that the Accelerated Access Review’s recommendations are implemented sooner rather than later?
The Health Tech Alliance was created for this very reason – not only to get further clarity about existing policies, but to work with the NHS to resolve the current market access and reimbursement obstacles for devices, diagnostics and technologies. Our mission is to promote the benefits and deliver better understanding of the transformative impact health technology solutions can have, as well as the pressures it can alleviate on budgets over the long-term.
Our members vary in size and scope. They include the likes of Boston Scientific, Intuitive Surgical, Accuray, SecondSight, Airsonnett, FirstKind Medical, Stent Tek and UrethroTech. The Alliance has invited Dame Barbara Hakin, the former Deputy Chief Executive of NHS England as its Chair to help convene stakeholders across the health community and develop partnerships that can be both mutually beneficial for the NHS and industry.
To find out more about the Health Tech Alliance and our forthcoming meeting on 18th July with Rachel Yates, Managing Director and Senior Responsible Owner of Getting It Right First Time and Director, National Orthopaedic Policy Unit and Ravi Chana, NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI), click here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org