Warwick Innovation District Podcast Series

Driving change to innovate the healthcare sector

The West Midlands Health and Wellbeing Innovation Network, here at the University of Warwick, announce an exciting new partnership with UHUK to help drive innovation within the healthcare sector.

We talked to Conor Burke, CEO of UHUK to find out more about this exciting new opportunity…

Introduction by Joshua Dale, West Midlands Health and Wellbeing Network Innovation Hub Manager.

The West Midlands Health and Wellbeing Innovation Network and Urgent Health UK have formed a first-of-a-kind partnership to deliver Innovation in urgent health.

UHUK is a membership organisation consisting of 30 urgent health businesses who deliver services ranging from 111 call handling, urgent health centre management to ambulance services.

The UHUK Innovation Programme will build in WMHWIN’s Open Innovation Programme method by solving challenges for a consortia of 10 UHUK organisations. This multi-sponsor approach will unlock a host of opportunities such as creation of efficiencies between partners, pools of meaningful data to find and validate innovation opportunities and the foundations of a innovation marketplace in urgent health services.

The programme is a fantastic opportunity for innovators who have solutions to urgent health challenges to validate their products and services, larger businesses to explore how their innovations or infrastructure could enable the members to achieve their goals and data scientists to work with meaningful and real-time data feeds.

Listen to the podcast interview below…

Read the podcast interview here…

Jason Hier (Presenter): Hello my name is Jason Hier from Warwick Innovation District. We are here to inspire educate and incubate, so if you’re interested in enterprise, innovation or entrepreneurship, then this series of podcasts is for you.

So, the West Midland’s Health and Wellbeing Innovation Network, here at the University of Warwick, announce an exciting new partnership with UHUK to help drive innovation within the healthcare sector. My special guest today is Conor Burke CEO of UHUK. Conor thank you very much for joining me today, part of our first podcast series. So just tell us a little bit more about UHUK, what they’re all about?

Conor: So UHUK, formerly known as Urgent Health UK, we’re a partnership of about 30 healthcare provider members who cover about 65% of the UK. Our real mission in life is to improve healthcare outcomes for patients, and the thing that unifies and unites us is a common purpose to make a real difference to society. So we’re all constituted as social enterprises and not-for-profit, so every every penny of surplus gets reinvested in our communities, in our people and in society.

Jason: So what are the main things you’re looking to achieve in 2023?

Conor: So as UHUK we are the voice of our members and our members are providing critical services into the NHS at the moment, the real benefit that our members bring is reducing demand on overly stretched A&Es and hospitals, making sure that people get the right service at the right time in the right place. So our priorities over the next year really are to continue to do that, to make sure that we’re delivering services in the right way to transform the way that we deliver services through technology, through innovation, through the better use of data, and obviously through better utilisation and optimisation of our staff, who are at the moment really really under pressure, and as you know there’s a big workforce crisis across the country, so what we want to do is really raise the profile of UHUK across the country, make sure that everybody’s familiar with what our members do, the value that we bring, and the impacts that we have.

Jason: OK, so an exciting new partnership with the University of Warwick. Why are you running the Innovation program, tell us a bit more about it.

Conor: So we are running an innovation program because we want to make a bigger and better difference at scale across the UK – So we think we’re unique in the fact that we’re a set of providers that run services across the whole of the nation, we don’t believe there is anywhere else that have taken collective action and collaborated as a group, and as a partnership to be able to learn from each other, to be able to share their data and to be able to really drive improvement on health outcomes – So it’s really the combination of all of our members coming together, to want to make a bigger and better difference to local communities and to patients, and the way that we can do that, is because we are all social enterprises and very entrepreneurial. We can do it in a quicker more agile more effective way than a lot of NHS organisations can do. So we can pool our assets, our capability, and some of our resources in order to be able to do this together, in a really creative but accelerated way that others can’t.

Jason: So, you’re partnering with the West Midlands Health and Wellbeing Innovation Network, part of the University of Warwick, why did you choose to partner with us?

Conor: So the West Midlands Health & Wellbeing Innovation Network comes with a great reputation, a great pedigree, a great track record of running challenge-led innovation initiatives. So, the work that they’ve done at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire has been really notable, in the way that they understood and defined the need for that organisation, then was able to specify how that need should be met, what solutions were required, and then went to the market to be able to source those solutions. So, on the basis of that experience, it felt really natural and comfortable that we should look to do something similar, but to do it at a bigger and better scale, and the West Midlands itself is well positioned, there’s a lot of innovation work happening across that area, and Warwick University is really really high profile, in terms of its medical school, its business school, it’s health data science capabilities, so we think that combination of experience of ability across the region, to bring people together, and its capability, existing capability could be really powerful for us and we’re really excited about the partnership.

Jason: Finally Conor, thank you very much for your time today, final question – How do you think innovation can impact healthcare moving forward?

Conor: So, innovation in itself is a little bit meaningless unless innovation is adopted and it helps to really drive forward change and makes real impacts on patients, but we know that the drivers around healthcare are really really challenging at the moment. We know that there isn’t enough money in the system to be able to deliver services safely in the right way. We know there isn’t enough staff in the system to be able to do this either. We know that government policy has had limited effectiveness over the last few years, and actually driving change, so the only way that we can do this is as providers of services. We need to step up now, we need to recognise the challenges that we’re responsible for, and the way that we can do that predominantly is using intelligence-led solutions, understanding need through data, being able to then use that data to really design and define better ways of doing things, in a more productive and efficient way and then, through the use of new technologies, the technology is already there it’s really how we can adopt technologies to really have a bigger and better impact on patients.

Jason: So, we’ll be posting links to the exciting new partnership below just click on the links provided, and make sure you sign-up to our next newsletter, just go to Warwick Innovation District dot com for all the very latest. My name’s Jason Hier and we’ll have another in our podcast series coming very soon. Thank you for your time today.

If you would like to find out more about the new Innovation Programme and how it could help your business, contact Josh Dale, Innovation Manager: joshua(dot)dale(at)warwick(dot)ac(dot)uk

More about UHUK here: https://www.urgenthealthuk.com/

More about Warwick Innovation District here: https://warwickinnovationdistrict.com/