We spoke with Raj Purewal, business and partnerships director at TRUSTECH (www.trustech.org.uk), the NHS innovation experts. TRUSTECH is an NHS organisation and part of a national network of NHS innovation hubs that aims to improve healthcare through the development of innovative products and services.
Our team provides an innovation management service for NHS organisations, and a consultancy service for companies throughout the UK and beyond.
When was TRUSTECH established?
TRUSTECH was one of the first NHS innovation services and was established in 2001. We have been able to strengthen our offering enormously over the years and have maintained our successful, leading position. Our organisation has grown from three staff funded through government initiatives to more than 20 staff today that are sustained by a mixed income model.
Who does TRUSTECH work with?
We work with NHS organisations, companies, universities and regional, national and international bodies and networks to bring forward new ideas and help to put them into practice.
TRUSTECH also acts as a point of contact between the NHS and industry to build commercial relationships, and plays a wider role in the development of the healthcare economy.
Our team therefore works with a variety of people across the public and private sector including doctors, nurses, managers, engineers, company owners, market researchers, strategist, business managers, entrepreneurs, plus many, many more.
What’s a typical day like at TRUSTECH?
We provide a range of innovation management services, so our working day is varied, and very interesting.
For instance, for the NHS we provide a complete innovation service. This means we could be providing advice and support on funding, developing and managing innovation, helping NHS organisations to identify new solutions to address their priority unmet needs, or assisting them to develop an innovative staff culture.
On the commercial side, we help UK and international companies that are looking to develop new products or services for the healthcare market. So we may be arranging product trials and evaluations, helping companies gain a better understanding of the size and scope of the NHS market, or introducing them to potential partners.
Also as part of our work, we operate the MedTECH Centre, which provides accommodation and business support for start-up medical technology companies.
What trends have you seen emerging in healthcare innovation?
I have noticed a trend towards encouragement of patients to monitor their own health, and take more responsibility for their health. There has been a surge in digital solutions, and new App based solutions are emerging on a daily basis.
Also there is a move to more considered prescribing which involves closer monitoring and use of biologics and gene therapy.
What do you see as the growing areas of interest for 2017 in terms of healthcare innovation?
I expect there will be more emphasis on prevention, and patient inclusion in their health decisions; for instance solutions to enable self-care such as wearable technology.
I also personally see a growth in brain injury/stroke technologies, coupled with telehealth via digital solutions.
What innovations have stood out for TRUSTECH this year?
Through the Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network’s Innovation Nexus programme, which provides support to innovative medical technology companies, a number of evaluations at NHS organisations have been facilitated. These include: a novel scanner for breast cancer detection; a new minimally invasive approach to treating an enlarged prostate; a revolutionary fluid drainage system for dialysis patients; and a device to accurately measure liver function to improve outcomes after liver surgery.
We’re also working closely with a company that is developing an electronic system to manage patient flow in hospitals, aimed at reducing length of stay, and we’re hoping to identify an NHS Trust to trial the system.
- Thank you to Raj for taking the time to speak with us.