There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale – improving health and generating economic growth. Each AHSN works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AHSNS?

As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. This means we are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation at pace and scale; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations.

Although small organisations – which ensures we remain flexible and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges – we lead large regional networks. Hence our impact rests in our ability to bring people, resources and organisations together quickly, delivering benefits that could not be achieved alone.

This Innovation Pathway summarises how AHSNs support the entire innovation life cycle.

HOW ARE AHSNS DIFFERENT AND DISTINCT?

Everything AHSNs do is driven by two imperatives: improving health and generating economic growth in our regions. We are the only partnership bodies that bring together all partners across a regional health economy to improve the health of local communities.

We have a remit from NHS England to occupy a unique space outside of the usual NHS service contract and performance management structures. This enables us to foster collaborative solutions. We use our local knowledge and harness the influence of our partners to drive change on the ground and integrate research into health improvement.

We are as interested in seeing healthcare businesses thrive and grow, creating jobs and bringing in investment to the UK, as we are in seeing the healthcare system improve.

WHAT DIFFERENCE ARE AHSNS MAKING?

Our Atlas of Solutions in Healthcare showcases some of the best examples from across the AHSNs of how to spread high impact innovation across the health and care system.