Along with our fellow AHSNs we support the regional ‘import and export’ of healthcare innovation through our national Innovation Exchange programme.


Funded by the government’s Office for Life Sciences, the Innovation Exchange builds on the AHSNs’ unique expertise and cross-sector connections, enabling us to identify common challenges and quickly bring people and organisations together to develop, test and spread proven innovation.

The national Innovation Exchange identifies innovations for the Accelerated Access Collaborative and for local adoption. The Accelerated Access Collaborative is a national partnership of organisations including NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, NICE, NHS Improvement and the AHSNs.


The Innovation Exchange has four structured elements: 


1  Needs definition

We support our Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) to identify proven solutions to existing challenges.

 Innovator support and signposting

Innovator support is provided by all AHSNs. The Innovation Pathway sets out the range of services offered. There is a consistent and co-ordinated offer to innovators wherever they are identified in the system.

 Real world validation

Real world validation is informed by regional and local need and seeks to provide the information and evidence needed to enable adoption of the innovation in a variety of settings.

 Spread and adoption of supported innovations

The Innovation Exchange supports the adoption of innovations identified by the Accelerated Access Collaborative. It also identifies and supports the adoption of innovations on a regional and cross-regional basis.


Up to £2 million is being provided by the Government to give more patients access to seven innovative technology areas that were identified by the Accelerated Access Collaborative, a partnership of health and health tech organisations. Products were selected that improve patients’ lives but are not currently available to everyone who could benefit. 

This first batch of ‘rapid uptake’ products includes a range of treatments for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

The aim is not only to help 500,000 patients to access new treatments, but also to provide cost savings to the NHS of £30 million, while helping to reinforce the UK’s position as a global leader in health innovation.


The rapid uptake products are:

  • Heartflow - A non-invasive personalized cardiac test that reduces the need for unnecessary procedures
  • Placental growth factor (PIG-F) based testing for suspected pre-eclampsia - tests for early diagnosis of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, which if unmonitored, can cause serious complications for mother and baby.
  • PCSK9 inhibitors for treatment of primary hypercholesterolaemia and mixed dyslipidaemia - Cost-effective drugs that significantly lower cholesterol.
  • High sensitivity troponin tests for early rule out of myocardial infarction (acute) - Diagnostic tests that detect whether or not a patient is at risk or previously had a heart attack.
  • Quantitative faecal immunochemical tests for colorectal cancer - Diagnostic tests that reduce referrals for patients with suspected colorectal cancer.
  • Cladribine (Brand name: Mavenclad) for treating highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in adults - A drug for multiple sclerosis with a novel mode of action, high efficacy and a low treatment and monitoring burden
  • Urolift for lower urinary tract symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.


North West Coast Innovation Exchange platform


The Innovation Agency provides the regional Innovation Exchange platform for the North West Coast. It is an online forum for colleagues across the healthcare sector to share innovative solutions, projects and products to improve patient care.

Delivered in partnership with Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, it is a platform for innovators to showcase their work to improve patient outcomes and experiences, provide cost-effective solutions and accelerate the delivery of safer, better care.

By registering as a member with the Innovation Exchange in the North West Coast you can submit projects, products and services to a Review Panel for assessment. If accepted, the submission will receive a wide range of support. You will also be able to share ideas with other members and access resources and support provided by the Innovation Agency and our extensive regional network.

Visit the the Innovation Exchange.


Office for Life Sciences                  European Regional Development Fund

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