Since its inception, Health Innovation Oxford and Thames Valley (formerly the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, 2013-23) has developed strong working relationships with a range of industry partners. It has fostered collaboration between NHS organisations and industry expertise to accelerate the uptake of innovative and evidence-based therapies, technologies and care pathways.
Within the NHS there is clear commitment to deliver the best care for patients, but sometimes an injection of pace and dexterity is needed to drive innovation and improvement. Often an industry partner can bring insight and experience on delivering at scale, as well as the ability to rapidly and flexibly deploy clinical, quality improvement and educational capacity. This has been valued across all of our workstreams and with partners in the local health economy.
Collaborations with pharmaceutical organisations have been particularly pivotal in the delivery of our atrial fibrillation ‘detect, protect and perfect’ programme. Highlights include:
- an independent grant from the Pfizer-BMS alliance which backfilled a team of specialist anticoagulation pharmacists to deliver educational sessions for clinicians and review appointments for patients in primary care. It is estimated that this project resulted in 12 fewer strokes per annum. Following the pilot programme one of the participating Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs) decided to continue this outreach service.
- ‘Excellence in AF’, a quality improvement project with Bayer and a local CCG. Funding was provided by Bayer for clinical audit support and an experienced quality improvement manager was seconded into the former Oxford AHSN via a joint working agreement. Specialist pharmacist and GP time was provided by the local health economy. This project brought together the skills and expertise of all partners to deliver significant improvements to a patient cohort whose needs had not been met by existing anticoagulation pathways. It is estimated that this programme resulted in 13 fewer strokes per annum.
- An independent grant from the Pfizer-BMS alliance which enabled the creation of an ‘AF Champions’ programme, through which 43 primary care clinicians received intensive training from a local stroke physician and were supported to deliver quality improvement projects in their practice.
Other industry partnerships
Heart failure patients in our region have also benefited from collaboration with industry. ‘Excellence in Heart Failure’ is a joint working agreement between the Oxford AHSN and Novartis through which specialist pharmacists are deployed to practices to deliver education and review sessions and identify patients who are not getting optimal treatment for heart failure.
In stroke care a medical educational grant from Medtronic supported the independent production of a guide to implement mechanical thrombectomy.