Graham Watson, Executive Chair at InnoScot Health, explains how the firm’s special 20th anniversary celebrates international healthcare innovation success
Recently, InnoScot Health celebrated 20 years of working in partnership with NHS Scotland to inspire, accelerate, and commercialise impactful healthcare innovation
Established in 2002, the organisation – formerly Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) – holds a unique role in encouraging new ideas from health and social care staff. Over the last two decades, it has evaluated over 2,000 ideas, successfully accelerating a range of medical devices, products, and technologies for use in hospitals, care homes, and on-scene emergency settings, both in Scotland and around the world.
The milestone anniversary celebrates the success and evolution of the organisation with a reinvigorated modern identity.
The organisation, with its deep well of expertise, aims to encourage fresh ideas from NHS Scotland’s 160,000 staff, and as such, it has launched a more accessible website presence and digital offering to inspire even more ground-breaking ideas from NHS Scotland staff to be submitted.
It is a timely development. The importance of healthcare innovation has never been greater against the backdrop of COVID-19, new ways of working, climate change, and the challenges which each presents to global health.
By sharing success stories of products, spin-out companies, and the lives transformed by innovations, InnoScot Health has created an inspiring, streamlined portal – vital to encourage pioneering thinking at all levels and quicker sharing of ideas for improving and transforming healthcare.
Ideas, Expertise, and Impact
With that in mind, and as part of the educational strategy of the new site, the content has been split into three main groups – Ideas, Expertise, and Impact.
Ideas offer a simple online submission form for new innovations and details active innovation calls, including current calls on sustainability, frailty, and ophthalmology.
Expertise provides information on InnoScot Health’s specialist fields, including intellectual property, regulatory advice, funding and investment, product development and commercialisation. Reflecting the digital environment in which many now operate, the website makes it easier than ever to engage with InnoScot Health’s experts thanks to online consultation bookings, providing access to help and advice when in-person meetings remain limited.
Impact, meanwhile, tells the story of InnoScot Health across the past 20 years and the role it has played in bringing everything from simple to complex ideas into the healthcare system.
It is a positive story with more than 250 ideas successfully integrated into the sector, the launch of seven innovative spin-out companies, and advice and support provided to multiple innovation projects.
“We have been working with NHS teams for 20 years, resulting in a range of successful products and spin outs which have made a real difference in healthcare. As we work towards NHS recovery, capitalise on new ways of working and maximise fresh technologies, we need to tap into first-hand knowledge by drawing out the best ideas from the talented and diverse workforce we have here in Scotland.”
– Graham Watson, Executive Chair, InnoScot Health
An entrepreneurial nation
Ideas originating within NHS Scotland are transforming lives, creating jobs, attracting investment, and showcasing Scotland as a truly entrepreneurial nation, and the role of InnoScot Health is to inspire further growth in those key areas.
That includes the organisation’s recent first-for-Scotland partnership with the Digital Health and Care Institute to embed validated evidence in digital tools and systems in daily use by health and social care staff.
InnoScot Health has also played an important role in responding to COVID-19 with dedicated innovation calls designed to draw out fresh ideas from health and social care staff. A key example of this was the organisation’s work with NHS Tayside and outdoor clothing specialist Keela International in creating the SARUS-CPR hood.
A small, lightweight device made from transparent fabric, the SARUS hood creates a barrier between the patient and the individual performing resuscitation, reducing the risk of contamination and infection from bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19.
Fundamentally, however, the 20th anniversary will be celebrating the wealth of talent and expertise across the health and social care sector.
InnoScot Health is part of an exciting, ever-broadening innovation network that is strengthening Scotland’s activities and truly capitalising on its potential to solve real problems while also improving the quality, efficiency and sustainability of healthcare.
Scotland’s most successful healthcare companies have certainly made a global impression. That list includes Touch Bionics – a provider of world-leading prosthetic technologies designed to achieve positive outcomes for people with upper limb deficiencies, and also the first spin-out of InnoScot Health as it began working in partnership with everyone from SMEs to global multinationals.
InnoScot Health has played its own part, building a reputation for working closely with manufacturers, partners, investors, and universities – it recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Heriot-Watt University’s Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) and innovation centres around the world – another vital component in meeting fresh global challenges and co-designing state-of-the-art solutions.
Taking NHS-led innovation to the world will undoubtedly have its challenges, particularly against the backdrop of a COVID recovery plan, but InnoScot Health remains confident in its ability to help positively impact healthcare challenges on a global scale through productive, collaborative relationships.
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