Innovation in health and care: overcoming the barriers to adoption and spread

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Ensuring the adoption and spread of innovation is a challenge in any health and care system, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the English system finds it particularly challenging. 

Why are some innovations incendiary, spreading with a spark from funders, regulators, professionals or the public? While others seem stubbornly immobile, no matter how easy they may appear to implement or how persuasive the evidence supporting them.

This one-day conference will explore these questions and look at the enablers to the spread and adoption of innovation in health and care. It will showcase a number of examples of spread and adoption and examine the factors that allowed these innovations to develop and thrive. 

By attending this conference, you will learn:

  • how different types of service and technological innovations have been able to develop and spread across organisational and geographical boundaries
  • how organisations have been able to embed their innovation locally and move beyond pilot funding
  • the role of the AHSNs in driving the adoption and spread of innovation.  

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What are AHSNs?

Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) are bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry. They look to create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. 

AHSNs are well placed to identify and spread health innovation at pace and scale; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations. 

Although they are small organisations, which allows them to remain flexible and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges, they lead large regional networks. 

Their impact rests in their ability to bring people, resources and organisations together quickly, delivering benefits that could not be achieved alone. 

This innovation pathway summarises how AHSNs support the entire innovation life cycle.

Event partner

This event is run in partnership with The AHSN Network.


Sponsorship and exhibition

Engage with leaders and decision-makers from across the health and care sector by sponsoring or exhibiting at this event. Find out more on our website, email Chris Lazenby or call him on 020 7307 2490.



Confirmed speakers


Don Berwick

International Visiting Fellow, The King's Fund


Helen Bevan

Chief Transformation Officer, Horizons Group, NHS England


Mike Hannay

Chair, The AHSN Network


Ben Collins

Projects Director, The King’s Fund


Dr Liz Mear

Chief Executive, Innovation Agency


Tara Donnelly

Chief Executive, Health Innovation Network


Donna Hall

Chief Executive, Wigan Council


Chris Gibson MBE

Specialist Leadership Adviser, Former Lieutenant Colonel, Defence Medical Directorate



Registration opens, exhibition and refreshments


Breakfast session: The NHS is well equipped to adopt innovative technologies even in the current economic climate

This session is hosted by Edwards Lifesciences. 

9.00amWelcome and introduction

Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer, Horizons group, NHS England

9.05amDebate: The NHS is well equipped to adopt innovative technologies even in the current economic climate

Speaker for the motion
Professor Donal O’Donoghue, Medical Director, Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network and Consultant Renal Physician, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Speaker against the motion
Professor Debra De Silva, Head of Evaluation, The Evidence Centre

Patient perspective
Wil Woan, Chief Executive, Heart Valve Voice

9.35amQuestions and discussion


Opening plenary: Adoption and spread of innovation in health and care

10.00amWelcome and introduction

Mike Hannay, Chair, AHSN Network

10.05amEncouraging the spread and adoption of innovation to transform care

Don Berwick, International Visiting Fellow, The King’s Fund

10.25amLarge-scale spread and adoption of innovation

  • Overcoming the challenges for large-scale spread and adoption. 

Dr Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer, NHS England 
Dr Jonathon Gray, CEO, South West AHSN

10.50amThe Deal: Wigan’s approach to whole-area innovation in health and care

Donna Hall, Chief Executive, Wigan Council
  • The Deal is an informal agreement between the council and everyone who lives or works in Wigan to work together and create a better borough.

11.05amQuestions and discussion


Breakout A: Improving access for vulnerable groups

Delegates can choose between breakouts A, B, C or D.

11.45amWelcome and introduction

Richard Stubbs, Chief Executive, Yorkshire and Humber AHSN

11.50amPhysical health checks for people with severe mental illness

Dr Angela Moulson, Clinical Specialist Lead Adult Mental Health, Bradford CCGs
  • Learn how Bradford District Care was able to develop and spread its model of physical health checks for people with severe mental illness.  

12.05pmChatHealth: secure text messaging with school nursing teams

  • ChatHealth is a safe and secure text messaging service providing young people with confidential and timely access to health care. 
  • Learn how ChatHealth has expanded from 65,000 users in Leicestershire and Rutland to around a million people across England.

Caroline Palmer, School Nurse and Project Lead, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
Lynda Edwards, Clinical Lead, School Nursing, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

12.20pmDeveloping new models of care for adults and older people who need support and a home in their community

  • Shared Lives is a model in which adults either live with or regularly visit their chosen carer, who is trained and managed by a local Shared Lives scheme.
  • Learn how they have been able to overcome the barriers to the spread and adoption of their services.

Anna McEwen, Executive Director of Support and Development, Shared Lives Plus
James Rosborough, Ambassador, Shared Lives 
Andy Cooke, Carer, Shared Lives 

12.35pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout B: Addressing different underlying needs to traditional health and care services

11.45amWelcome and introduction

Ewan King, Business Development and Delivery Director, Social Care Institute of Excellence

11.50amNorth London Cares: reducing loneliness and increasing wellbeing in older people

Alex Smith, Founder and Chief Executive, North London Cares
  • North London Cares is a community network of young professionals and older neighbours helping one another in a rapidly changing city.
  • Learn how the network has been able to scale its service up to cover south London and Manchester. 

12.05pmAge UK care co-ordinator roles

  • Age UK’s care co-ordinators draw on voluntary sector services and community groups to reconnect older people with their communities, addressing loneliness and isolation rather than simply focusing on their health challenges.
  • Learn about the enablers that helped Age UK to identify local health systems that were well placed to adopt its care co-ordinators.

Pam Creaven, Director of Services, Age UK
Yvonne Fullwood, Director, Understanding Value Ltd 

12.20pmESCAPE-pain programme for hip and knee pain

Professor Mike Hurley, Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences, St George's, University of London, and Kingston University
  • ESCAPE-pain is a rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain that integrates educational self-management and coping strategies with an individualised exercise regimen.
  • Learn how ESCAPE-pain has spread to 30 sites, benefiting more than 3,000 people, and continues to spread across the UK. 

12.35pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout C: Embedding a local innovation

11.45amWelcome and introduction

Guy Boersma, Managing Director, Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN

11.50amEmergency Laparotomy Collaborative

Dr Nial Quiney, Consultant Anaesthetist, Royal Surrey County Hospital
  • The Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative is a programme involving the spread and adoption of an evidence-based Emergency Laparotomy Pathway Quality Improvement Care bundle.
  • Learn how they were able to spread from four hospitals to 28 hospitals within three AHSN regions: Kent Surrey Sussex, Wessex, and West of England.  

12.05pmEmergency department checklists

Emma Redfern, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
  • The checklist is a time-based framework that outlines clinical tasks that need to be completed for each patient in the first hours of their admittance to an emergency department. It ensures that assessments and tests happen in a timely way in order to improve patient satisfaction and reduce risks.
  • Learn how the checklist was developed and how its use spread beyond its original site. 

12.20pmSafer Culture, Better Care – the ‘SCORE’ assessment tool

William Lilley, Partnership Director, South West AHSN
  • The South West Patient Safety Collaborative has introduced a validated assessment tool for safety culture in England.
  • Learn how they were able to move beyond their pilot site, with over 9,000 staff in 96 teams taking part in the programme, leading to improved patient safety and new ways of working. 

12.35pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout D: Spreading digital innovation

11.45amWelcome and introduction

Tara Donnelly, Chief Executive, Health Innovation Network


Dr Richard Stott, UK Clinical Lead, Big Health
  • Sleepio is a digital sleep improvement programme, clinically proven to help overcome even long-term poor sleep.
  • Learn how they have been able to scale up their services. 

12.05pmEndoscope-i: Endoscopic mobile imaging

  • Birmingham surgeons created endoscope-i: an award-winning system that enables the viewing, recording and sharing of HD endoscopic images and videos using an iPhone or iPod.
  • Learn how they developed endoscope-i and how they have been able to spread its use beyond its initial site.  

Mr Ajith P George, Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon, and Royal College Surgical Tutor, University Hospitals of North Midlands
Mr Simon Pargeter, Technical Director, endoscope-i Ltd 
Mr Chris Coulson, Ear and Throat Consultant and CEO, endoscope-i Ltd

12.35pmQuestions and discussion


Breakout E: Engaging patients in their care

Delegates can choose between breakouts E, F, G and H.

1.50pmWelcome and introduction

Piers Ricketts, Chief Executive, Eastern AHSN

1.55pmiSPACE – dementia-friendly GP surgeries

  • The aim of iSPACE is to improve the pathway of patients with dementia and their carers through primary care.
  • Learn how iSPACE has spread, through engagement of staff teams and a recognition that people with dementia need a more personalised care plan to access resources that help them and their carers to better manage the pathway.

Dave Meehan, Director for Partnerships and Deputy CEO, Wessex AHSN
Dr Niki Wright, GP Partner, The Friarsgate Practice 
Katherine Barbour, Senior Programme Manager, Wessex AHSN

2.10pmImproving diagnosis and treatment for atrial fibrillation

Julia Reynolds, Head of Programmes, Innovation Agency
  • In 2014, the Innovation Agency (the AHSN for the North West Coast) launched a major programme to improve diagnosis and treatment for people with atrial fibrillation, with the aim of cutting the region’s higher than average number of strokes each year. 
  • Learn how this programme developed, allowing the Innovation Agency to provide hands-on support to make it easier for providers to improve care pathways.

2.25pmSupporting individuals to take control of their care

Kevin Auton, Director, Aseptika Ltd
  • Aseptika Ltd is a health care SME that provides a range of platforms and devices to enable technology-based self care of complex conditions for health care providers and their patients.
  • Learn how they collaborated with local community organisations, such as district councils and charities, and Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, to develop a self-care programme for cardiac and cancer patients. 

2.40pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout F: Clinical entrepreneurship

1.50pmWelcome and introduction

Amanda Begley, Director of Innovation and Implementation, UCL Partners AHSN

1.55pmLessons learnt from clinical entrepreneurs

Dr Maryanne Marivaselvam, Clinical Research Fellow, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, and Cambridge University Hospitals

Maryanne is an expert in patient safety and inventor of a non-injectable arterial connector. 

Dr Peter Young, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn

Peter is an expert on ventilator-associated pneumonia and has developed numerous patient safety innovations, which have benefited patients around the world. He is also the inventor of the PneuX™ pneumonia prevention system.

Professor Julia Riley, Clinical Lead for Co-ordinate My Care and Palliative Care Consultant, Royal Marsden and Royal Brompton NHS Trusts 

Professor Riley is a consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Royal Marsden and Royal Brompton NHS Trusts. In 2012 she founded Coordinate My Care with the aim of providing patients with integrated, coordinated and quality care, particularly at the end of life.

2.40pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout G: Spreading innovation across organisational boundaries

1.50pmWelcome and introduction

Amanda Risino, Managing Director, Health Innovation Manchester

1.55pmThe Greater Manchester Healthy Hearts Programme

  • Health Innovation Manchester is working with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership on its commitment to improve the health of its population. 
  • Learn how Greater Manchester is taking the robust learning and evidence base from the Bradford Healthy Hearts Programme, by taking a system-wide approach to action on cardiovascular disease.

Cara Afzal, Programme Development Lead, Health Innovation Manchester
Dr Gillian Greehough, Associate Director, NHS RightCare

2.10pmSerenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM): integrating mental health care and policing

  • This pioneering project is integrating mental health care and policing on the Isle of Wight. 
  • Learn how SIM evolved, was scaled up and has spread from the Isle of Wight to four further sites. 

Superintendent Mark Lawrence, Lead for Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Suicide Prevention, Metropolitan Police Service
Aileen Jackson, Head of Mental Health, Health Innovation Network

2.25pmBetter Care Fund

Mags Walsh, Regional Relationship Manager (North), Better Care Support team, NHS England
  • The Better Care Fund (BCF) is a programme spanning both the NHS and local government that seeks to join up health and care services.
  • Learn how their services were developed and spread through partnership working across boundaries. 

2.40pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout H: Intervening earlier

1.50pmWelcome and introduction

Natasha Swinscoe, Managing Director, West of England AHSN

1.55pmEarly diagnosis of chronic liver disease

Dr Neil Guha, Clinical Associate Professor, Hepatology, University of Nottingham
  • How two hepatologists from the University of Nottingham developed a model for systematic fibro-scanning for people with particular risk factors. 
  • See how this makes it possible to identify patients with chronic liver disease at a stage when changes to alcohol consumption and lifestyle could still be effective.

2.10pmAtrial Fibrillation programme

Helen Williams, Clinical Lead, Southwark CCG
  • The Atrial Fibrillation (AF) programme is a priority for all 15 AHSNs and spans the AF clinical network. 
  • Learn about the challenges and enablers to adopting and spreading this programme nationally, which includes the rollout of mobile electrocardiogram devices to GP practices, pharmacies and NHS community clinics across England. 


2.25pmDon’t Wait to Anticoagulate

Dave Evans, Programme Manager, West of England AHSN
  • The Don’t Wait to Anticoagulate project aims to increase the use of anticoagulation medicine and improve the management of atrial fibrillation patients.
  • Learn how the service was developed through partnership-working and adapted and spread to over 200 GP practices.  

2.40pmQuestions and discussion


Closing plenary

3.25pmWelcome back

Mike Hannay, Chair, AHSN Network

3.30pmAdoption and spread of innovation in health and care

Ben Collins, Projects Director, The King’s Fund
  • Key findings from The King’s Fund’s recent report looking at the adoption and spread of innovation in health and care. 

3.45pmSpreading the adoption of innovation into practice

Liz Mear, Chief Executive, Innovation Agency
  • Driving the adoption and spread of innovative services and technologies across large populations. 
  • Spreading innovation through innovation exchanges.

4.00pmQuestions and discussion

4.15pmLessons from military medicine on how to innovate

Lt Col Chris Gibson, MBE, Specialist Leadership Adviser, Former Lieutenant Colonel, Defence Medical Directorate
  • Understanding the conditions needed for adoption and spread of innovation.
  • How innovation in the British Army enabled the rapid deployment of Ebola treatment in West Africa hospitals in record time. 

4.30pmQuestions and discussion

4.45pmClose of conference


Drinks reception

Please join us for complimentary drinks. 






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