Improving support and collaboration for digital innovation

Improving support and collaboration for digital innovation

Breid O’Brien started her working life as a nurse before working in health related improvement and technology roles. Breid joined NHSX at the start of the pandemic on secondment from the Health Innovation Network. 

As we launch this Innovation Collaboratives site to support rapid scale of digital innovation, I feel a real sense of anticipation about what the next six months will allow us to collectively achieve. I have been having lots of conversations with regional and local teams, highlighting  some fabulous work underway, where digital innovation is starting to make a real difference for our citizens and health and social care staff.

Having started my working life as a nurse and then working in operational and health related technology roles for quite some time, it is clear that the age old issues of interoperability, slow connectivity, lack of devices and so on are still big challenges to overcome. What I see now is a sense of real possibility, where local teams feel that relatively simple digital innovations can make a really big difference and they want to scale and share these opportunities

I believe COVID-19 has changed the world of health and social care technology forever. There seems to be a change in mindset where people are open to approaching things differently. We’ve seen teams achieving amazing things through collaboration and rapidly adopting practices from elsewhere. Gone are the phrases from the past such as “not invented here” that stopped the adoption of innovation from elsewhere, matched by a move in thinking from “but” to “what if?”

To capitalise on this new appetite for collaboration and innovation, we are working with regional teams across England to scale proven innovation. We are providing funding to support implementation efforts to speed up the adoption of remote monitoring and digital tools that will enable new pathways of care to support patients. We need to remember what we can achieve when we decide to be brave.  

Supporting scale through the Innovation Collaboratives - Digital Health workspace

The new Innovation Collaboratives - Digital Health workspace on the NHS Futures platform is for NHS and social care staff keen to adopt and scale locally. We want it to become a vibrant space where people question and support each other and learn together. 

This is a real opportunity to join up improvement science thinking with digital implementation approaches. This could be the application of the well tested PDSA (plan, do, study, act)  tool from many improvement methodologies to implementing digital innovation at pace. We can progress rapidly but with the knowledge that we are measuring progress as we go and demonstrating impact. 

We can share our learning with others very quickly through the workspace. We will provide access to useful tools from both digital implementation and improvement science and encourage everyone who joins the site to actively contribute their own favourite tools and to ask for help with some of the wicked problems we all face. Couple this with easy access to case studies, blueprints, webinars and podcasts and hopefully we will collectively enable great things to be achieved. 

These resources will support NHS and social care organisations to speedily adopt proven new ways of working such as: 

  • establishing tech supported COVID-19 home monitoring services 
  • using remote monitoring to enable patients to share results with clinicians 
  • enabling new digital pathways of care, such as redesign of outpatient care 
  • rolling out Clinical Communications tools.

To use the workspace, you will need an NHS Futures account. You can set up an account by submitting a request for access at  whereas those who have an account, simply need to log in and search for the ‘Innovation Collaborative - Digital Health’ workspace.  Once you have selected the workspace from your search, click join at the top of your screen.  You will be prompted to provide a brief explanation of why you would like to join the workspace.  This is to help NHSX to ensure that the membership of the workspace reflects the needs of the group, for a collaborative workspace. 

Online workshops to support our NHS people 

Part of the Innovation Collaborative will be a series of online workshops that will focus on specific aspects of scaling innovation. The first of these are listed below:

How to set up a COVID-19 digital home monitoring service 

During the COVID-19 outbreak, a number of NHS organisations used technology to support people with COVID-19 at home. If you would like to know more, and are keen to establish a similar service locally, join this webinar series to hear from the clinicians involved how this worked, what they did and what the benefits were. 

The online workshops will take place between 10 and 11 using Microsoft Teams and will be recorded.  

To talk about the workshops or share your feedback about the workspace, please contact us via email at

Published on: 01 September 2020