What we do 

Health Innovation Network is the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for south London, one of 15 AHSNs across England. As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are uniquely placed to increase the spread and adoption of innovation across large populations, at pace and scale. AHSNs operate with three core aims: improving outcomes for patients, driving down costs and stimulating economic growth.

We work with our members, national commissioners (NHS England & Improvement, Office for Life Sciences) and industry to make sure south Londoners benefit from innovations on a daily basis and to learn about what works. We don’t see innovation as solely relating to new products or technology: we’re often innovating with clinicians and others to redesign existing pathways or make other changes to the way care is delivered.



Our approach to spread and adoption

Scaling innovation is a dynamic, iterative process that doesn’t involve getting from A to B in a straight line. Over the past five years, we have developed a framework approach based on the insights of clinical academics in Implementation Science and NHS England’s Change Model. This means that whatever the unique circumstances presented to us, we can still be the catalyst for change. Our framework is based on five key principles

A unique perspective

Unlike common approaches, we don’t only look at the problem from the perspective of the innovation or the product. We start from the perspective of the local system and teams that might want to use it. This system approach and insight is our expertise. It allows us to truly understand the existing problems that innovations can solve, rather than mandating change for the sake of a good idea.

Embracing complexity

We understand that implementing even simple innovations can have a domino effect – triggering a series of changes to diagnosis and treatment, changing staff and patient roles, and revealing new patient needs. We do not underestimate the complexity of change or the sensitivity with which we need to approach transformation of any kind.

Behavioural science, not broadcast

For many years in healthcare it was assumed that innovation would spread fast and that if one person was successfully innovating, others would soon follow. We know that simply broadcasting an idea is not effective. People are complex and they make decisions on multiple levels. We use data, evidence and the principles of behavioural science to support and persuade, not demand.

A flexible approach

We have a framework grounded in academic theory, but the detail of our approach is different every time. Our members have their own set of barriers, enablers, level of knowledge, risk appetite, culture and funding mechanisms. We understand everyone’s individual environment is different and support our members and partners to find their own path to implementation based on their unique circumstances.


We are highly skilled in collaborative working. We are experts in building trust amongst people across different organisations. We bring people together when they face similar challenges and have learning to share. Being part of a network of AHSNs is our strength.

Read more here and here.

Our approach to innovation is designed to achieve our vision for health and care

We want a future where health innovation spreads fast. We’re building it by connecting people with great ideas, inspiring people to think differently and giving them practical support to do something new. Together, we can create a future where everyone benefits from the best in health and care.


How we work with health and care teams

As an Academic Health Science Network, our role is to advise, support and connect health and care teams to adopt innovation successfully, in order to improve patient care, health outcomes, and efficiency. Find out more

How we work with industry

We are dedicated to ensuring that patients and citizens benefit from the latest in innovation. As an AHSN we are uniquely positioned to help innovators to navigate the complex health and care system so that this can happen, faster. Find out more

Find out more about what we do