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NWC CHC - Industry Partnerships

NWC CHC worked closely with small and large businesses, academia and healthcare professionals to deliver new programmes and develop partnerships. 

Starting with a mapping exercise, key digital assets across a range of industry sectors in the North West were identified, to highlight availability of skillsets and activity in digital health innovation, data science and machine learning. Data from mapping informed the national AHSN Network Report Accelerating Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care. As well as allowing us to create an ecosystem of experts and innovators in data and AI, this allowed us to look at opportunities for partnerships and collaboration. It enabled us to review gaps in our skills and knowledge in industry to give us a greater insight into considering new opportunities.

NWC CHC worked closely with small and large businesses, academia and healthcare professionals to deliver new programmes and develop partnerships. A quarterly ECO system event to unite industry and the NHS was held throughout Cheshire, Merseyside, South Cumbria and Lancashire.

Working With Industry Partners

Examples of joint working with local and national industry partners within CHC:

  • AIMES was a partner in the CHC programme, providing the NWC infrastructure and went on to develop trusted research environments (TREs) throughout the UK. In addition, AIMES worked with Imosphere to support developing new techniques in data visualisation.

  • The Hartree Centre Data Science team worked with NWC CHC Data Laboratory team at the University of Liverpool in developing a model of risk for emergency admissions for ARLD, to be embedded into clinical systems and used by clinicians.

  • The Organisation for Reviews of Health Care Apps (ORCHA) worked with NWC CHC to develop the early stages of a patient consent app.

  • Intelesant supported the pilot project of a consent app and provided the ‘How Are You Today’ COPD support app, which is used now across Lancashire.

  • A jointly funded post with the Innovation Agency and Hartree continues to support the development of a digital cluster in the region.

  • Building on the work of NWC CHC, Liverpool City Region has agreed to fund a multimillion pound Civic Data Trust, which will support the development of using health data to benefit patients, the public and local business.

  • The Innovation Agency holds quarterly ECO events which aim to develop relationships between NHS, care and industry colleagues around specific themes. Several of these regular events focussed specifically on NWC CHC themes of alcohol, COPD, digital and workforce. A common element to all the ECO events is understanding and using data effectively to drive change.

  • Two North West conferences were held at the Hilton Hotel and work on CHC was given a national showcase.

Development Of A North West Coast Digital Think-Tank

The Digital Think Tank was an example of a project bringing together healthcare professionals and industry partners to actively work through some of the barriers faced by healthcare practitioners who adopt data management innovations. This was led by the University of Cumbria working closely with the NWC CHC team at Lancaster University. 

Activities included interviews with clinicians and structured dissemination sessions with industry partners and focus groups. Two workshops were held, firstly as an ‘expert panel’ with three companies and later as a larger workshop with six companies. Although healthcare professionals expressed a reluctance to share data for clinical purposes (due to data confidentiality and security concerns), they recognised that this was impacting on clinical care and were keen to engage with technology partners to improve the systems. 

The Digital Think Tank developed formal processes and guidelines to enable improved engagement between industry, academia and health service organisations and processes for the efficient auditing, testing and assessing of new innovations and tools. Common standards were identified to simplify technical and cross-organisational interoperability. These guidelines and reports have been published for use across NHS and stakeholder organisations.


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