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Adoption and spread of innovation and technology in the NHS We're supporting the change, not just the technology.


COVID-19 has turbo-charged the use of technology across the NHS. Whilst there is a wealth of opportunities to help the NHS meet rising demand through innovation and technology, it’s important to see them as enablers of change rather than ends in themselves.

There are many promising ideas, but one of the key challenges is the effective adoption of these ideas at scale. Over the last 15 years, we’ve learned a great deal from our research and frontline programmes about how clinical teams adopt and spread new ideas and technology.

We know that success depends on adapting an innovation to the local context, and it involves paying attention to the human as well as the technical issues when embedding any change.

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Adopting innovation

In 2021, the Health Foundation launched a new programme to build knowledge, skills and confidence within NHS providers to successfully adopt and adapt innovations. We’ve funded four hubs to act as centres of expertise and support within provider organisations to help them, and their local health systems, become better adopters of innovation.

Automation and AI in health care

Our report, Switched on, explores the opportunities for automation and artificial intelligence (AI) in health care and the challenges of deploying them in practice. It considers how these technologies might affect work in health care and outlines the actions needed to make the most of them in future.

Technology and COVID-19

The pandemic turbo-charged the speed of innovation in the NHS – ‘from 6 years to 6 weeks’. In this area of work, we explore what we have learned and ask what are the NHS's priorities for technological innovation, and can we do better in identifying them?

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