Your guide to innovation in the NHS

This guide has been created to make it easier and faster for you to bring high-impact innovations into the NHS.

It is for people who need support with a health innovation and want to have it adopted into the NHS. You could be at the very early stages of development or may have already started developing your health innovation idea and want to have it adopted by NHS services.

This guide contains detailed information on:

  • developing your innovation
  • protecting your innovation
  • regulations you will need to know and comply with

We hope that this information will save you time, money and help you focus on the right approach for your innovation.

The guide has been developed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative. This is a collaboration between patient groups, government bodies, industry and NHS bodies. We’ve also asked experienced innovators.

Loading stages...
stage guides list
What to consider Why is it important?
Value proposition structure This will really help your audience (including buyers and decision-makers) to understand the opportunity you are bringing to them.
Intellectual property Through every stage of your innovation’s development, you will need to consider protecting your idea with intellectual property (IP).
stage guides list
What to consider Why is it important?
Identify a need and market value Before investing significant time and effort in developing an innovation for healthcare, you should first ask yourself the question: Is my innovation really needed?
Market research You should do market research to determine the demand and need for your innovation. You should budget for this stage, as it is an integral part of your strategy to succeed.
Finding patients and users for testing and development Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is the process of involving patients and public to help inform the design and improvement of an innovation or service.
Further information on patient and public involvement Further information on patient and public involvement
Budget impact model From your market research you can create a budget impact model. This tells both buyers and sellers what finance or other resources will be needed to bridge the gap between current and future steady-state, and what the impact of using the innovation will be on the services and an organisation's budget.
Integrating with NHS digital services and APIs There are many existing NHS digital services and APIs available that can be integrated into your innovations.
stage guides list
What to consider Why is it important?
Outcome measures You will need to make a case for your innovation. This includes showcasing the outcomes from a variety of perspectives.
Quantitative experimental studies Randomised control trials (RCTs) are the most rigorous approach to generating evidence. RCTs are experiments which show an outcome has occurred as a result of the innovation that has been implemented.
Quantitative observational studies There are instances where an experimental study design is inappropriate, so observational studies are used instead. Observational studies do not have an experimental intervention. They rely on the observation of people without full randomisation. These types of studies can inform cause and effect associations and can be applied to existing data sets.
Qualitative studies These types of study do not collect numerical data. They gather information on participants experiences, perceptions and behaviours.
Economic studies Health economic studies investigate the cost of care.
Real world evidence Real world data (RWD) is used to generate real world evidence (RWE).
Presenting evidence When you are preparing to present your evidence, you will need to think about what is most important to each of your user groups.
Population, intervention, comparator and outcomes framework The population, intervention, comparator and outcomes (PICO) framework helps the formulation and answering of clinical questions. It can also be used to help you structure and present your evidence.
Support services Support services that can help you with evidence collection.
stage guides list
What to consider Why is it important?
Medical devices This guidance is specific to the provisions in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). For information on how to comply with the legal requirements in Northern Ireland, please see the MHRA guidance for Northern Ireland.
General medical device and active implantable medical devices If your product is a general medical device or an active implantable device, you need to determine which ‘class’ your device is in.
In vitro diagnostic In vitro diagnostic (IVD) is a type of medical device, usually a reagent, calibrator, apparatus, equipment or system used in vitro to examine specimens such as blood, tissue and urine.
Registering your medical device with MHRA Medical devices need to be registered with MHRA after they have been certified by an UK approved body, an EU notified body, or where they have been self-certified, and prior to being put onto the UK market.
Medicinal product If your innovation is a medicinal product, then get in touch with the MHRA as soon as possible. You can access support from MHRA through the NHS Innovation Service. You should also register new medicines with UK Pharmascan. This supports the uptake of new medicines into the NHS. They will help you understand what is required from the marketing authorisation process and how to comply with the Human Medicines Regulation 2012.
Surgical or invasive procedure This means a new surgical technique or interventional procedure must be a surgical procedure, procedure accessing the body cavity without cutting or procedure using electromagnetic radiation, such as x-rays or lasers.
Digital healthcare technologies Digital healthcare technologies including apps, software, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital platforms or services.
If you are unsure about your innovation category If you are unsure which category your innovation falls under, read more regarding MHRA guidance.
stage guides list
What to consider Why is it important?
Health technology evaluation NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation (CHTE) undertakes health technology evaluations and produces guidance for NHS England on the use of new and existing treatments such as medicines, medical devices and surgical procedures.
Delivering a net zero health service In October 2020, the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching carbon net zero, in response to the profound and growing threat to health posed by climate change.
Understanding the NHS To have your innovation adopted into the NHS you need to understand the complexity of the NHS and the related barriers this creates to procurement.
Commissioning in the NHS NHS England retains some funding for the commissioning of specific services including primary care services and specialised services such as pioneering procedures and new treatments. The national tariff payment system is a set of pricing rules established to help commissioners and providers of NHS care to provide the best value to their patients.
Supporting the adoption of new innovations into the NHS The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Award is an NHS AI Lab programme run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) in partnership with the NIHR. It will accelerate the testing and evaluation of AI technologies. The awards support technologies at various stages of development, from initial feasibility to evaluation within the NHS.
NHS Supply Chain NHS Supply Chain enables NHS organisations to buy clinically assured, quality goods from approved suppliers. There are specialist buying functions within NHS Supply Chain. These are known as category towers. You can access support from NHS Supply Chain through the NHS Innovation Service.
Procurement frameworks Procurement frameworks are agreements that enable NHS organisations to buy services and goods from one or more supplier.

Sign up to the NHS Innovation Service

Helping you to take your healthcare innovation from idea to adoption, supporting you every step of the way.

Find out more

Can not find what you are looking for?

Share you feedback or ask a question.