In the Research, Innovation and Improvement Hub we’re exploring some different ways of bringing people together to share challenges, explore and test innovative solutions. These are often described as ‘labs’ so we thought it would be useful to blog a bit about the different methods we’re experimenting with, the similarities and differences.
This is an idea we’re exploring with the Innovation Agency. It’s a space where people can come together to discover, develop and deploy innovative ideas. We’re planning some workshops to give people a chance to learn the techniques and also develop a common understanding of what research, innovation and improvement means in health and social care.
Social Care Innovation Labs #SCIL
We’re working with the Wales Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research at Bangor University to set up Social Care Innovation Labs. These are events that bring people together to seek novel solutions to social care problems. They can provide an opportunity to hear about existing evidence, current research and innovations and start discussions between people with lived experience, practitioners and researchers. The aim is to share ideas and challenges, which may lead to solutions or priorities for future research.
Small Business Research initiative (SBRI)
Although this doesn’t have ‘lab’ in the name the concept is similar – it’s about working with business to find innovative solutions to address unmet needs within health and care. For example, in the early days of the Covid pandemic, SBRI worked with the Welsh Ambulance Service on a challenge to reduce the turnaround time to deep clean a vehicle and get it back on the road.
Welsh Health Hack
The Welsh Health Hack is an event that brings health and care professionals together with digital, technology and data companies to solve challenges from across the health and care system in Wales. A virtual Health Hack was held, in collaboration between BCUHB, the Bevan Commission and M-SPARC on 14 May and 20 May 2020. Winners included a project to develop a short-range communication aid for use while wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a ‘Clear Masks for Communication’ project to look at PPE design for patients with hearing impairments.
There are a lot people interested in innovation to solve challenges in health and social care. These might be health and social care practitioners, people who use services, businesses developing new technologies, university-based researchers in all kinds of different fields or third sector organisations piloting new ways of working.
If you’re facing a specific challenge in health and social care please get in touch and we’ll try and link you up with the people who can help. And if we’ve missed any other health and social care experimental lab-style approaches please let us know.
The aim of the hub is to coordinate research, innovation and improvement activity in North Wales about how health and social care services can work together better. It is part of the Welsh Government commitment in A Healthier Wales to establish a nationally coordinated network of hubs to inform new integrated models of health and social care.