Reflecting on 2019 – highlights from Novartis UK partnerships
Apr 24, 2020
2019 was a huge year for partnerships here at Novartis. The Strategic Partnership Team sought collaboration with a broad range of organisations, including our NHS partners, world-leading academic institutions, Think Tanks and innovators in digital technology to address the medium- to long-term challenges facing the NHS and deliver better care for patients.
In 2019 we entered into a number of partnerships to deliver against our core purpose that 'nobody should have to wait for an extra-ordinary life'. To do this we looked to create opportunities to support transformational change, embrace innovation and technology and build long-lasting partnerships that have the potential to deliver sustainable healthcare solutions. To hear more about what we got up to, read on!
Supporting transformational change
As part of our vision to help transform patient outcomes, we co-sponsored the British Cardiovascular Society’s (BCS) Hackathon in June. The Hackathon was hosted in Manchester and invited specialists from around the UK to develop innovative solutions to support NHS England and help shape the future of cardiology. The 48-hour event offered specialists a rare opportunity to engage and collaborate with experts from Apple, Google and Pixar as well as some of the UK’s leading medical technology venture capitalists, with the winner receiving funding and start-up support. We co-sponsored the event with companies such as Health Innovation Manchester and Edwards Lifesciences. Professor Simon Ray, President at the BCS, commented that
The BCS Hackathon was an eye opening experience for someone with no prior experience of this way of working. The pace at which ideas were translated into a functioning app was extraordinary and a perfect example of the potential of cross disciplinary collaboration between clinicians, entrepreneurs, engineers and coders. It also illustrated how some of the best ideas stem from the frustrations experienced in everyday clinical practice by clinicians at all levels. I am very grateful to Novartis for providing the financial support that made this initiative possible.
BCS Hackathon - June 2019 - Day 1
BCS Hackathon - June 2019 - Day 2
Embracing innovation and technology
At Novartis we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of using data and digital to reimagine medicine. One of our longer-running projects with Wayra UK on the Health Hub set out to achieve this. The Health Hub is a unique partnership between Novartis and O2 Telefonica’s digital start-up accelerator, Wayra UK. The venture, which was co-designed in partnership with the NHS, aims to empower and enable health-tech start-ups to develop and implement innovative solutions to address today’s healthcare challenges. Together with Wayra, we provided the start-ups with unparalleled access to the brightest and biggest disruptors in healthcare, offering networking and masterclasses.
In the 2019 cohort, three exceptional health-tech trailblazers were selected: TestCard, Virtue Health and ExSeed Health. The programme came to an end in November, where the finalists attended a final demo day to pitch to some huge investors, including Google, Microsoft and senior NHS leaders.
Another 2019 endeavor that focused on data and digital was the Greater Manchester Future of Health (GMFoH) Challenge. This programme was designed to bring together 15 health tech start-ups who helped address some of the greatest needs in Greater Manchester as set by local health leaders. These were:
Solutions that improve the experience of those with dementia and/or frailty
Solutions allowing primary care and outpatient services to be delivered in or near the home for patients
Innovations to allow digital nudges (digital method of positively influencing people’s behaviour) to improve prevention and public health
Together with our partners, which included UP Ventures, MediaCityUK, The Landing and Health Innovation Manchester, we saw through a 12-week immersive programme that helped the start-ups develop their groundbreaking technology, with a vision to improve people’s lives through purpose-driven innovation.
A Demo Day marked the end of the GMFoH challenge, in which each start-up presented a pitch, drawing on skills developed during the process, with the opportunity to secure funding for further development of their tech. Raj Jain, Chief Executive of Salford Royal Foundation Trust said that:
The Greater Manchester Future of Health Challenge was an excellent opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organisations, such as Novartis UK, that are committed to helping the NHS provide better care. Our trust is dedicated to working in partnership to tackle some of the key healthcare challenges in Manchester. Trusted partners, including Novartis UK, are helping us utilise the potential of collaborations to ensure the NHS can adapt to future challenges and provide sustainable care for generations to come. Here at Salford, we have been inspired by our peers across the healthcare ecosystem and we foresee an exciting future where similar projects will enable us to provide world class care for our patients.
Establishing sustainable healthcare solutions in the UK
Novartis is committed to developing sustainable solutions in healthcare, and establishing a strong partnership with NHS leaders is central to this commitment. In 2019 we teamed up with the Healthcare Show, the UK’s largest integrated healthcare event, and the King’s Fund, an independent charity working to improve health and care in England, to do exactly that.
We arranged for Professor Amy Edmonson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, to come to the UK for a two-day workshop for the benefit of the King’s Fund and the NHS Leadership Academy. Cited as one of the world’s top management thinkers by Thinkers50, Professor Edmonson joined representatives from the NHS and Novartis to discuss her pioneering management concepts: ‘extreme teaming’ and ‘psychological safety’ to explore how NHS teams can better collaborate to improve patient care.
The Healthcare Show’s Integrated Care Systems (ICS) Hub took place in June 2019. The NHS Long Term Plan wants to see all sustainable and transformation partnerships (STPs) become ICSs, and the ICS Hub focused on the various aspects that can help STPs mature. This was a particularly outstanding event, as we garnered invaluable insight into the NHS’s projection and integration model, from key opinion leaders. Additional insight resulted from external engagement on our Novartis UK Twitter channel. We shared Twitter posts throughout the event, which opened dialogue with our targeted audience, such as key NHS stakeholders, and reinforced Novartis’ position as a committed partner to the NHS. The value from attending these types of events, as well as showcasing them on social media, will help shape the direction of our future collaborations.
Through these numerous joint efforts, we have helped build a new path into healthcare by enabling the development of radical technologies. In 2020, we aspire to go bigger and better with even more opportunities to work together with key partners both within the NHS, and the wider healthcare ecosystem in the UK.