Our approach to innovation


Des Holden, KSS AHSN's Medical Director, outlines the importance of innovative co-design in meeting future challenges in the health and care system.

Innovation in health and social care is vital if care outcomes are to be improved or even maintained. It is innovation that will see care pathways become digitally- and information-enabled. In turn this will help define what the workforce of the future might look like - and hopefully attract people into the care professions with different skills and interests and different contributions to make.

Our work is all about transforming lives through innovation. Some of these innovations are mandated to KSS AHSN, as they are to all 15 AHSNs, and we are active in spreading these across the region. Some innovations we find ourselves, from partners within the national AHSN network or from people and companies who contact us directly.

And some solutions that our population or health and care staff need are yet to be designed. Bringing people together to articulate these needs is the first step to bringing these solutions to life.

Co-design

Going forward we will expand our work on problem statements, or describing the unmet or inadequately met need that our population has, through co-design within the KSS system and those who live here. Through these statements, we will focus on challenges where we can make a difference to our population and which can be shared with the rest of the AHSN Network. We will also support our region to adopt and spread the effective solutions that emerge.

We believe that starting with a problem statement and the co-creation of solutions will lead to better adoption and deliver better outcomes. We have evidence of this from teams and members of the public in Surrey (the Innovate UK funded Internet of Things test bed for dementia), Sussex (Leach Court in Brighton) and in Kent (with the Design and Learning Centre).

Over the next twelve months our ambition is to work on a number of clinical needs so that challenge statements can be described. This approach will form the basis for new needs articulation, built with a granularity that is only possible through co-design and co-creation with the public and front line staff.

Our areas of focus will be:

  • The crises people nearing end of life experience in the community that result in emergency room conveyance and admission
  • Learning disability
  • Disparity in uptake of screening programmes
  • Delaying/ preventing the onset of frailty
  • Diagnosis and management of clinical dermatology.

In future blogs I'll talk more about these topics, why we've chosen them, what we know already and next steps as our plans evolve.

If any of this sounds like work you'd like to be involved in or find out more about, please get in touch.

Des