Moving beyond a pilot
Eastern AHSN worked with Mendelian to establish a pilot with a small subset of 90,000 patients in collaboration with the Lea Valley Federation of GP practices in NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCG.
Rudy believes the support from the AHSN helped to bridge the gap with the NHS:
“For us at the very beginning the brokering was really where the AHSN added value. Who do we talk to? What is it that they want? I don’t think we would have been able to run the first pilot without them. Then it’s down to you to show you have done the work and are a serious contender. But to start with it’s really a matter of having the backing of these people who understand the system better than us.”
The first pilot provided proof that the MendelScan approach was effective. It also showed the need for a larger scale pilot to understand how to operationalise the solution. Mendelian are able to take the learning from their experience in Lea Valley into a collaboration with the Modality Partnership, which cares for around 450,000 patients in eight regions of England.
So how have Mendelian avoided the pilot-itis that often affects innovators? According to Rudy, it’s all about understanding what a pilot is aiming to do:
“Sometimes people don’t understand what a pilot is all about. It’s fundamentally very different from the exercise of being commissioned. A pilot, by definition, you don’t have your evidence yet, so it’s very difficult to get in. The pilot is made for you to get your evidence. Once you have your evidence you’re in a completely different position. The main reason that people can’t get in after their pilot is that their data isn’t good enough. The NHS has very stringent processes so you need to understand what’s required, do your homework, then come back and show the evidence; it may take time but I don’t see any other barriers really.”
Wider scaling up
The recently published rare diseases framework sets out a national vision for the UK to improve the lives of people living with rare diseases. It’s very much aligned with what Mendelian advocates – large population health, digital approaches to find patients much earlier. The company anticipates further regional work followed by scaling up nationally, a journey which AHSNs would be delighted to support.
“Even with a great product, successful deployment can only be achieved with effective stakeholder and change management, staff training, and public engagement. That’s why we offer practical advice to support innovators to develop, implement and scale technologies to deliver positive health impact.”
Louise Jopling, Commercial Director, Eastern AHSN
For more information
Contact Eastern AHSN