A new initiative from NHS England will help innovators in the NHS and beyond to embed their ideas in frontline practice and find new opportunities across the globe, says Miles Ayling

The Innovation Exchange is new online portal to help healthcare innovators turn their ideas into real frontline service improvements, created and managed by NHS England. It brings together for the first time an unprecedented collection of networks, ideas and resources on a single web platform.

Miles Ayling

‘Innovations with the potential to make a real difference to patients will be supported and assisted’

It is underpinned by Innovation Connect, a gateway to expert support and advice for health entrepreneurs from the private, public and voluntary sectors, which we have also launched today.

The Innovation Exchange is a window to the future of healthcare. It is designed for frontline clinicians, people in industry, service managers and entrepreneurs. We want to provide a one stop shop for anyone who wants to develop, implement and spread ideas in health and care.

As well as having a place to share ideas, collaborate, spot opportunities and be inspired, innovators can tap into the expertise of the Innovation Connect team to help them explore a range of avenues for bringing their ideas to market.

Get your ideas noticed

Companies, academics and other networks can use the portal to develop and support their own work, linking with national and international resources and sharing ideas more widely.

A community of more than 1,500 users from all parts of the public and private sector was engaged with the Innovation Exchange during its development. The portal also provides access to:

  • over 100 tried and tested innovations that have the potential to speed up and improve treatment for patients;
  • a forum and tools to encourage the formation of collaborative networks;
  • an innovation “road map” setting out step by step guidelines on turning an idea into reality; and
  • signposts to a wide range of funding and investment opportunities.

In addition to the exchange, Innovation Connect provides a single point of entry to a range of resources and support services for anyone who wants to work with the NHS on an innovation.

It aims to help innovators in the health service and industry to realise their ideas, embed them in clinical practice and exploit new opportunities in international markets. The team will support innovators to overcome some of the barriers they face and put them in touch with the right people and organisations to get their ideas noticed.

Everday impact

Innovations with the potential to make a real difference to patients will be supported and assisted – if necessary with the creation of a dedicated team to embed them into everyday clinical practice. Help will also be provided if required in the form of:

  • research, testing and evaluation;
  • signposts to government support and funding opportunities;
  • connections with industry and trade bodies; and
  • advice on potential opportunities for international spread.

Following other NHS England innovation initiatives, such as the NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes and the Innovation, Health and Wealth programme, we are excited to open these two new gateways into the world of healthcare improvement.

Miles Ayling is director of innovation at NHS England