Making Leeds and Leeds City Region the location for healthtech innovators.
18 August 2021
Introducing Luan Linden-Phillips, Innovation and Adoption Specialist
Luan joins Leeds Academic Health Partnership at a time of acceleration and growth – for the partnership itself, for the core team and for its business. Our report in February 2021 emphasised that it’s now time to ‘scale fast’.
Our new Healthtech Catalyst, launching 16 Sept, will help do just that, by accelerating the adoption of healthtech innovation and – in turn – economic growth.
As an innovation and adoption specialist, Luan’s rich experience and expertise will be vital in helping make this a success. Luan explains more.
Q1. : Please tell us a bit about your experience in this field.
I have spent my entire career assessing health innovations. Firstly, I worked for over 15 years as a member of the decision-making health technology assessment network governing the introduction of new technologies into the NHS. Complementing this, I did a PhD in the diffusion of innovations, and have more recently worked directly with commercial innovators as market access consultant. These experiences mean I’m well aware of the various challenges involved – from the commercial, academic research and healthcare perspectives – in the adoption of new innovations.
Q2. : It’s an exciting time to join the team and help drive forward this work. What does your new role entail?
I am thrilled to be joining Leeds Academic Health Partnership at such a key phase when I can utilise my skills to contribute to real change. In the short time I have been in post, I have met some really enthusiastic, dedicated people, all pulling in the same direction to make Leeds and the City Region the location for innovators to bring their technologies.
My role involves working at the interface between innovators and the Leeds City Region partner organisations to accelerate the uptake of promising innovations that importantly meet the specific needs of the region.
In a practical sense, that may be through accessing investment for innovators, connecting with other organisations in our network, or finding opportunities for innovators to generate real world evidence so their products can be evaluated.
Q3. : What would you say are the main challenges and opportunities for healthtech innovation and its adoption into health and care services?
An area I am keen to focus on initially is getting clarity from our partner organisations about the needs of the Leeds City Region.
Articulating these needs on a practical level will help us match a manageable number of innovations that will really benefit the people in the region. This may be done in a number of ways such as helping to save lives through innovative technologies, bringing in efficiencies for healthcare services and stimulating economic growth by, for example, creating jobs.
The main challenges innovators consistently face are to do with commissioning and procurement pathways. It is becoming increasingly important to address these issues at an early stage, particularly as consideration of the route to market is now required in research funding bids.
Whilst these are issues nationally, viable funding mechanisms remain a significant barrier to adoption of health innovations. Similarly, there is a tendency to focus on short-term savings as opposed to considering the wider system benefits an innovation can bring. These barriers can potentially jeopardise other efforts to accelerate earlier adoption.
The establishment of integrated care systems presents opportunities that I’m keen to explore through the strong relationships created by Leeds Academic Health Partnership.
Q4. : How do you see this helping citizens, across the city and the region?
The overall aims of Leeds Academic Health Partnership are to help reduce health inequalities, transform the quality and efficiency of health and care services and drive economic growth that benefits all communities across the region. In short, to transform innovative ideas into life changing realities.
We are helping fulfil those aims through working with a diverse range of innovators.
For example, we are supporting manufacturers to gain access to financial investment that could lead to contracts with Leeds-based companies to create new jobs.
We’re also connecting cloud-based innovators with device manufacturers. This will enable remote monitoring capabilities, which means people can receive care in the community or at home, instead of in hospital.
And we’re brokering meetings with health professionals from our partner organisations enabling digital innovators to refine their concept to better meet the needs of patients and clinicians.
Q5. : The Healthtech Catalyst is an important focus but how do you see this complementing other core parts of Leeds Academic Health Partnership’s work?
Whilst my main focus will be the Healthtech Catalyst, my role will operate across all four Leeds Academic Health Partnership catalysts.
This oversight has already highlighted common issues around data access for real world evaluation that we are addressing though our Personalised Health Catalyst and will also benefit innovators coming through the HealthTech Catalyst.
Similarly, research and public engagement through the Insights Catalyst will be valuable in helping articulate new healthtech needs to industry, and the Leeds Health and Care Academy will be instrumental in determining the workforce skills and training required.
Q6: Why is this work important to you personally?
Over the years I have seen some really good innovations that could have made a real difference to patients’ lives get lost along the way. That’s because innovators have struggled to navigate the convoluted healthtech landscape in the UK.
Whilst I am not naïve enough to think all of these issues can be addressed in the short-term, I have been really encouraged by how the Leeds City Region is tackling adoption challenges by strengthening its resources through Leeds Academic Health Partnership to create a network of innovation-receptive organisations.
This is not by duplicating effort, but by coordinating the many assets we have and I am excited to be a part of that. We’ve got a launch event coming up, with a fantastic line up of speakers and an expert panel discussion, so I’d encourage anyone interested in healthtech to sign up and find out how we can help.
For more information about our Healthtech Catalyst and to sign up to our launch event (16 September), visit www.leedsacademichealthpartnership.org/catalyst/
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