Innovation in healthcare

8 July 2016

Providing sustainable improvements in the delivery of healthcare requires innovation which needs commitment from all stakeholders – the NHS, industry, academia and the third sector. I would like to share an example of service innovation evolving from a long term partnership Baxter has with the NHS.

For over 30 years Baxter has provided the aseptic preparation service at the Christie hospital. In 2015, the trust re-tendered for this service having conducted a full interrogation of current and future service requirements to ensure future proofing and sustained value over the life of the contract.

At a time of unprecedented financial pressure on the NHS, when specialised commissioning and performance of the provider sector were under scrutiny from both a clinical outcomes and a financial perspective, simply asking more of the same was not an option for the Christie.

The Five Year Forward View (October 2014), Devolution Manchester, the Commissioning Intentions for 2016/17 for Prescribed Specialised Services (March 2016) and the Operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals: Unwarranted variations (February 2016) report by Lord Carter all played a significant part in the tender decision making.  As this was a long term commitment, it was imperative that the service would be flexible and workable over the whole 10 years enabling innovations from both the Christie and the chosen service provider to deliver sustainable high quality patient outcomes.

Cancer treatment is changing at a fast pace and the aseptic production of IV Chemotherapy is a costly and high risk process, subject to ever increasing quality and regulatory standards. The need to balance flexibility to meet operational demands with high quality patient outcomes meant that a solution driven approach was a pre-requisite for the Christie.

As a result of being successfully awarded the contract to continue to provide aseptic services to the Christie for the next ten years, the responsibility to offer innovative solutions, both proactively and reactively, sits with Baxter. On the one hand it involves investment in IT systems, R&D and Operations but also collaboration on, for example, the implementation of standard dose banding tables to drive further efficiencies through adoption of standardisation and systems integration to reduce cost and risk of order processing from point of prescription to invoice in line with the NHS drive for paperless processes. At a time when reimbursement pathways are changing it also includes the redesign of financial reporting to align with these changes.

More broadly, Baxter’s partnership with the Christie allows pooling of expertise through alliances with other organisations, creating additional capacity and opportunities to design and deliver new patient pathways such as moving care that traditionally would have been provided in the hospital closer to home. When innovation meets partnership, change can be implemented at pace.

Nicky Sturt, Director, Market Access UK and Ireland, Baxter

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