By Mary-Louise Clews
Four points that open doors to NHS-focussed HealthTech media
As part of our collaboration with DigitalHealth.London, we have researched the ingredients of the stories that have made the health tech news pages over the past six months.
Our content director, Mary Louise Clews – former award winning HSJ news reporter – has summarised the findings here into four quick pointers to include in any pitch aimed at opening doors into the NHS, via earned media coverage or otherwise.
Showing understanding of how the NHS works and its current priorities is essential to winning the ear of senior managers. Politics have a huge influence on the NHS, so being aligned with current political mood music and priorities can make the difference between being noticed or ignored. Taking the time to read the latest overarching policy document, such as the latest ten or five year plan or forward view from NHS England, is essential. It’s also important to take notice of announcements around funding and targets and show how you can be a trusted partner to organisations seeking to access those pots or meet those goals.
This is the Holy Grail for an organisation that is rightly skewed towards an evidence-based mind-set. However, it puts new untested tech at an obvious disadvantage. It’s like starting out again as a graduate – you can’t get a job without experience, but without a job you can’t get experience. The answer, as with many graduates, is to take a partnership approach and invest in a trial or pilot with a key NHS partner to get that all-important efficacy evidence. This is where that separate revenue stream comes in handy…
Cash in the bank. Startups that can avoid being solely reliant on investment rounds and have access to an alternative revenue streams are at a huge advantage as they’re not dependent on the NHS buying into their innovation in the first instance to survive. This means thinking about a business model that can be scaled within another complementary sector or internationally, for instance, to access revenue streams elsewhere. This buys the time needed to run pilots essentially for free in partnership with NHS bodies in order to build evidence.
Mining for data that illustrates your innovation’s problem-solving capability should be at the top of any NHS-targeting entrepreneur’s business development plan list. Technology on its own won’t impress or even catch the attention of time-poor NHS executives and clinicians. Its raison d’etre needs to be brought to life, and the reasons why they should care must be clearly set-out. For instance, if a business has created an app that automates a process in the NHS that is currently handled via outdated tech or practices – and there are many – look to collate data on the impact of that archaic process on patients, staff, and how much that costs the NHS in wasted time and effort.