Understanding the Importance of Evaluation in Innovation

February 2, 2023

Chandra Banerjee recently joined the HIN for an eight-week placement as part of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. Here he writes about what he learnt from working on evaluation and shares advice for other graduates.

Before joining the HIN, I had worked at a tech start-up, where I briefly came across Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). After joining the graduate scheme, I again briefly interacted with an AHSN during my operational placement working on technology implementation. As part of the scheme, I would be doing an eight-week placement at an organisation of my choosing, and due to my interest in innovation and transformation my Director of Strategy suggested the HIN. He put me in touch with Rishi, the HIN’s Chief Executive, to find out more.

Rishi painted a comprehensive picture of the role AHSNs play in fast-tracking the adoption of new technology, ways of working, and evaluation of programmes. I could see how valuable it was and wanted to be a part of it. From my experiences in implementing electronic patient record (EPR) systems, I knew the importance of robust evaluation of implementation processes and outcome KPIs in sharing good practice, disseminating new technology across the system and demonstrating value for money. Luckily, there was an opportunity to work on evaluation at the HIN.

I joined the DigitalHealth.London Team at the HIN in November 2022, working on evaluating the Evidence Generation Bootcamp. The bootcamp is designed to help digital health companies get the evidence they need to demonstrate their products are suited to the NHS. The Insight and Evaluation team and other academic collaborators provided guidance how to develop an evaluation proposal and study design through a hands-on approach. I was encouraged to interact with the companies, design the study tools, collect data, analyse it in line with the protocols and formulate my first evaluation piece.

I’m hugely passionate about the potential for evaluation to drive improvement, and this role allowed me to see first-hand how AHSNs like the HIN can help new products go from development through to implementation. I got a lot of support from colleagues to develop my skills and learned a huge amount which I’m looking forward to applying in my innovation journey within the NHS.

The AHSNs play a hugely important role but are often overlooked. I would thoroughly recommend a placement at an AHSN for anyone else on the management training scheme. They can help broaden your understanding of bringing products and services into the system, and evaluation is a skill which is relevant for almost any role. AHSNs are also uniquely placed to give you an understanding of the whole spectrum of the health and care system. They offer a chance to work on a wide range of clinical themes at the cutting edge of developments which offer the opportunity to massively improve outcomes for patients.

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Find out more about the Graduate Management Training Scheme.

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