HIN Strategy 2021-26

    September 29, 2021
    View of south London


    Back in 2013, the HIN was formed by an alliance of local organisations wanting to make a significant and lasting impact on health and care in south London.

    As the Academic Health Science Network for south London, we occupy a unique position between health and care providers (and commissioners), industry, and academia, with the ability to both support early innovations and then work at a national scale to spread innovation in practice. Our early priorities were selected following a close consideration of community needs and priorities which enabled us to identify programmes that would drive goals for health outcomes, improve the experience of care, test and spread innovation and focus on wealth creation and industry engagement. Our local relationships and system understanding have strengthened over time, enabling us to respond to changes, evolving our programmes and suggesting innovative solutions as a trusted broker.  

    In the last eight years we believe we have made a valuable impact including: 

    • Invested £200,000 directly in Innovation Grants to kickstart 15 innovative health and care projects in south London covering long-term conditions, mental health, emergency care and maternity care to name a few. One example is a mass screening project which delivered health checks to 441 people across six health clinics at local Black Caribbean and Black African Churches, a Tamil temple and two mosques in Wandsworth. It found: 
    • Using the Diabetes UK ‘Know Your Risk’ tool, 61 per cent of participants had a high or moderate risk of Type 2 diabetes  
    • 27 per cent had a blood pressure of >140/90 indicating possible hypertension.  
    • Enabled south London residents to receive cutting edge technology including: 
    • 35 patients suffering with severe cluster headaches, a relatively rare but most debilitating condition, benefitting from the life-changing and non-invasive Gammacore device 
    • 248 patients with suspected coronary artery disease benefited from Heartflow scan which avoids any invasive procedure 
    • A 74 per cent increase for patients with high cholesterol benefitted from PCSK9I inhibitors, a new type of medicine for lowering cholesterol. 
    • Led the London-wide collaboration to support the increased use of remote monitoring of care homes; this involved working with six companies to implement remote monitoring in nearly almost half the number of care homes in the capital (many of which did not even have wifi), supporting more than 22,000 residents. 
    • Supported over 120 companies through our DigitalHealth.London Accelerator. 
    • Supported 12,000 patients to access our structured education programme via the  Diabetes book and learn service. 
    • Spread the use of the award-winning ESCAPE-pain programme which helps people with arthritis self-manage their pain through exercise to more than 200 sites across the country. 

    To enable these changes, we rely on our staff who bring a wealth of experience from many sectors. We have developed a work culture that supports creativity, enables people to think differently, fosters bravery and strives to build a resilient, diverse, and joyful organisation.  

    We are excited about building new partnerships and collaboratives. This strategy is the outcome of the many conversations and listening events and our personal and collective learning over the last eight years.

    Thank you for your continued involvement and support in speeding up the best of health and care, together

    Signed by the HIN Board 

    September 2021

    Our Mission, Vision and Values

    Our Mission

    Speeding up the best of health and care, together.

    Our Vision

    We want a future where health and care 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.

    Our Values

    • BRAVE: We encourage our teams and others to be brave with their ideas and support them to try something new.
    • KIND: We care about each other, the people we work with and about the health and wellbeing of south Londoners.
    • OPEN: We’re open about what we do, and we share what we learn.
    • DIFFERENT: We think differently, and we are strong because of our diverse backgrounds, talents and experiences.
    • TOGETHER: We build communities and networks, we collaborate and we connect.


    We want a future where health and care innovation spreads fast. 

    To do this we will: 

    • Ensure south London benefits from national innovation priorities and that these help address health inequalities. 
    • Deliver health and care change programmes with a focus on long-term conditions and mental health to improve health outcomes. 
    • Support innovators and the workforce in the health and care system to achieve faster adoption of innovations and drive economic growth – with a focus on digitally-enabled business models. 
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of innovations in a real-world setting and generate evidence to identify which innovations should be adopted in health and care. 
    • Build a sustainable, resilient, diverse, and joyful organisation. 

    How? By using our relationships as a membership organisation to spend time with people to understand their challenges and what will improve the health outcomes for south Londoners. We aim to support in five key areas: 

    • Change: We improve health and care, utilising high standards of excellence and professionalism with a focus on patients and residents in line with the NHS values and support the NHS principles. 
    • Connect: We are the part of the NHS bringing innovations to support patients and residents in south London. We understand the challenges for the NHS, social care and innovators and create connections across the system. 
    • Collaborate: We work with public sector, academic institutions, private sector and third sector organisations to promote the needs of patients and residents of south London and share knowledge and learning. 
    • Catalyse: We act as a catalyst for sustained improvement which provides the best value for taxpayers’ money. This includes seeking funding from outside the NHS and social care where it aligns to our values. 
    • Create capabilities: As a NHS hosted organisation which works with industry, we provide a compelling offer to experienced public sector staff to develop entrepreneurship, commercial and change management skills. We also support non-NHS staff to understand the NHS values and culture. 

    A key part of our role is in supporting and connecting innovators with local health and social care organisations to work together. And our remit around wealth generation, means that we also explore ideas that will drive economic growth for south London and beyond and build upon the 500 new jobs we have already created.   

    Our strategy was developed following multiple internal and external conversations and will enable us to connect our members and partners with practical and sustainable innovations that make a real difference to people and communities.  

    In the next five years, we aim to deliver: 

    1. Innovation and Industry Partnerships – supporting innovators and the workforce in the health and care system to achieve faster adoption of innovations and drive economic growth – with a focus on digitally-enabled business models. 
    1. Innovation selection support – Helping members and other organisations to articulate their needs to be addressed by innovations, to select the best interventions / technologies to meet these needs and to design programmes to deliver improvement.  
    1. Health and Care Change Programmes – providing a balanced portfolio of programmes with a focus on long-term conditions, including mental health, and local priorities. 
    1. Evaluation services – providing support, directly and through partners, to evaluate the impact of new innovations in the real-world, plus the evidence base to choose interventions and to support spread and adoption.  
    1. Capability and community building – collaborating on major local programmes, connecting people, creating partnerships, and increasing capabilities of provider and commissioner organisations through a range of people development programmes.  

    In addition to our core offer, which is developed in partnership with other AHSNs, national commissioners and regional stakeholders, we will also provide a range of additional services which will be available on a fee-for-service basis as part of our enhanced offer. Part of our commitment to members is to offer high quality services at competitive rates to support them in innovation and improving services for our local south London population.

    Local and national context

    We are part of a vibrant but complex system of innovation nationwide and across London. We work in collaboration with strategic partners across south London to help the NHS and care system innovate and improve. Each part of our local network has distinct strengths when it comes to discovering and implementing innovation.

    South London: Serving the population of south London is core to our mission and most of our members are based in south London and serve or represent our local population.

    Map showing different stakeholders of the HIN

    We act as an ambassador for south London achievements and take a lead role in sharing innovations developed locally, with our national partners.

    London-wide: In many instances our innovation ecosystem extends beyond south London and increasingly we work with innovators and partners across London and beyond to develop and spread innovation. An example of the types of organisations involved in the development process is outlined here. The HIN as an AHSN is focused on developing innovations which may originate from academia or from London’s world-class start-up and digital ecosystem.

    diagram showing other stakeholders involved in local health innovation

    Further to this, we have collaborated with regional, national and international bodies to drive innovation including:

    • National commissioners such as NHS England and NHS improvement, NHSE London region, NHS Digital, NHSX, the Office for Life Sciences, Department for International Trade.
    • Other AHSNs to share our learning and to bring innovations, proven to work elsewhere, to our members and local population.
    • London-wide partners such as MedCity, Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London.
    • Industry partners including pharmaceutical companies and technology leaders
    • Research organisations including NIHR Applied Research Collaborations, King’s Health Partners, St. Georges University of London, Kingston University, London South Bank University .
    • Charities, patient organisations and third sector partners including National Voices, CW+, GSTT Charity, Versus Arthritis, Sport England, BEAT, Diabetes UK, Health Foundation, Zero Suicide Alliance, Mind, Alzheimer’s Society, local Healthwatch branches.

    Through DigitalHealth.London, a partnership with other London organisations which we host, we have supported hundreds of private sector companies over the last five years which help to improve care, generate value to NHS, or create economic growth:

    Image showing companies DigitalHealth.London have worked with

    Over the next five year period we will seek funding to continue this effort and plan to develop partnerships with international accelerators to support developed companies to scale internationally and to bring the best innovations from abroad to support London providers.

    Nation-wide: We seek to spread innovation nationally, and to learn from across the country. We are part of the national AHSN Network which gives us national reach and scale in specialised activities. Increasingly, we work with other AHSNs across London and the country to bring the best to south London, to avoid duplicating efforts and to ensure we have the greatest impact for the investment we make. Building on our experience through DH.L, the London digital ecosystem and our digital programmes, HIN leads the AHSN Network digital workstream and supports other AHSNs with digital issues.

    Our role within the AHSN network:   •Leading on key national project such as Early Intervention Eating Disorders.
    •Leading on national themes such as digital innovation.
    •Leading on regional programmes such as the London wide remote monitoring Innovation Collaboration.
    •Sharing best practice and learning from south London.  

    Case study: The ESCAPE-pain programme

    The ESCAPE-pain programme (Enabling Self-Management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise), developed in south London was implemented across the country as a major AHSN Network programme.

    This group rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain integrates educational self-management and coping strategies with an exercise regimen individualised for each participant.

    Developed by Professor Mike Hurley, an NHS Innovation Accelerator fellow, in 2013 it was identified as a local innovation that was ready for adoption by HIN. Following the success of our local rollout, ESCAPE-pain became an AHSN Network national adoption and spread programme.

    It was delivered in partnership with Versus Arthritis and Sport England and supported by the NHS Innovation Accelerator. In 2020 it was named ‘Musculoskeletal Initiative of the Year’ by the Health Service Journal.

    At the end of the national programme, 12,781 people had completed ESCAPE-pain and sites adopting went from 51 to 280.

    The longer-term future of the programme has now been secured through a partnership between HIN and national medical charity Orthopaedic Research UK.

    Connecting people with great ideas

    Innovation is a vibrant, exciting, and growing area in which we operate. The need to effect rapid change during the pandemic has accelerated the pace of innovation and exposed even more staff and patients to opportunities of innovative technology and alternatives to traditional ways of delivering care. During this period of change, we think it important to outline our principles for choosing what we work on and recognise that our portfolio will evolve over time (and that we can’t deliver every great idea immediately). We are informed by key principles:

    These have led us to consider five key areas where we work in the period 2021-23:

    ObjectiveCommitments 2021-23
    Innovation and Industry PartnershipsTo drive economic growth by supporting innovators from academia and private sector to develop their products and services•To advise and support 100 innovators to navigate the health and care system
    •To provide intensive support through the DH:L accelerator to 20 companies in cohort 6
    Innovation Selection supportTo support organisations to articulate their needs to be addressed by innovations, to select the best interventions / technologies to meet these needs and to design programmes to deliver improvement
    •To support local SWL and SEL initiatives to select innovations
    •To extend this service to other partners as part of our enhanced offer
    Health and Care Change ProgrammesDeliver a balanced portfolio of national and local programmes which serve the population of south LondonTo deliver our targets in key commissioned programmes:
    •Long-term conditions (Diabetes and cardiovascular disease)
    •Mental health
    •Patient Safety and experience
    Evaluation servicesProviding support, directly and through partners, to evaluate the impact of new innovations in the real-world and to provide the evidence base to choose interventions and to support spread and adoptionDevelop services to:
    •Evaluate rapidly the effectiveness of innovations in the real-world
    •Independently evaluate the impact on inequalities of innovations
    Capability and community buildingCollaborating on major local programmes, connecting people, creating partnerships, and increasing capabilities of provider and commissioner organisations through a range of people development programmes•Provide programmes to develop staff to be ready to adopt innovations across settings of care including care homes
    •Develop additional programmes working with people initiatives in south London and with Health Education England

    Health and Care Change Programmes

    Our portfolio of programmes re-doubles our focus on long-term conditions, including mental health, where we add value coordinating programmes across organisational boundaries and in varied settings of care. These included projects that have started locally, based on south London priorities and national innovation programmes that we support nationally as part of the AHSN Network.

    From the time we were established, we have picked themes and programmes based on the population health need across south London such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These cross-cutting themes have worked well as they have  allowed us to have multiple initiatives within the scope of the overarching programme.

    All changes to programmes have been timely responses to the local system, demonstrating how we have the capacity to flex to local needs. For example mental health was added as a programme as all our local stakeholders had mental health as a priority.

    This is a tradition we continue with, co-designing with HIN members and other stakeholders, from initial idea, through design to implementation and spread, with our local system including community groups, VCSE organisations.

    Innovation and Industry Partnerships

    We are the first port of call for commercial innovators wanting to reach the south London market, through advice, guidance, and making connections:

    Supporting innovators to identify the steps required to further develop their innovation and demonstrate its clinical and financial effectiveness.

    Opening doors by providing guidance on understanding the NHS and social care, helping navigate the culture and practices and how to maximise the opportunities where an innovation has the potential to provide a solution to a health or care challenge.

    HIN is a national lead for digital innovation and will continue to work with key partners to understand opportunities for investment, ways to stimulate economic growth with a focus on technology, life-sciences and health.

    Case Study: DigitalHealth.London

    We are a founding member of DigitalHealth.London, a pan-London organisation that connects NHS staff, digital health companies and academics, and equips them to improve the NHS and social care in London through digital technology.

    We signpost innovators onto relevant opportunities such as our business support programmes, relevant networks or masterclasses, for example:

    • DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme, which is uniquely positioned to provide in-depth knowledge of the NHS and care sector to a cohort of high potential small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
    • DigitalHealth.London Launchpad programme for early stage London-based innovative companies that are looking to launch products in the NHS and care sector.
    • NHS Innovation Accelerator, working collaboratively with NHS England and the other AHSNs, to support innovators and evidence-based innovations scale in the NHS and care sector.

    Direct Support to HIN Members

    We provide a wide range of support and opportunity to our members such as:

    Spread and Adoption Support for the implementation of innovative solutions developed by our members: defining the benefits of a programme, evaluation, help to build its national profile and support for joint award applications.

    Commercial Support to develop partnerships and contracts including procurement support and guidance.

    Collaborating and Connecting – a varied range of HIN networks and communities of practice, including patients, stakeholders from public, private, academic and VCSE sector, including seldom heard groups across a range of themes. HIN colleagues can join and work alongside partner networks to offer expertise and knowledge and make connections.

    Evaluation Support – advice on how to conduct the most appropriate evaluation for a service development, change programme or innovation implementation, plus  introductions to trusted partners for ongoing work as appropriate. 

    Horizon Scanning, identifying the latest innovations and the best of national and regional innovation pipeline of companies and programmes. Vetted introductions to trusted innovators identified by our Innovation and Industry Partnerships work.

    Programme Management Support for when additional capacity is needed in the system, including scoping. Often this involves extensive partnership working to form and run joint initiatives.

    Academic Interface,as lead for the Involvement and Implementation team in the ARC , we link academics to those looking to research and evaluate innovations and implement research-generated evidence into our local system.

    Access to NHS Graduate Digital Data and Technology Scheme which helps recruit IT and data graduates into hard to fill NHS roles.

    Funding Opportunities, including how to access pathway transformation funding and procure nationally recognised rapid uptake products, and apply for our annual £100k Innovation Grants Scheme.

    Access to the HIN Academy which offer a range of development opportunities and workshops.

    Attendance at our events – including training, collaboration sessions, roundtables, and online forums. In addition, we can also support with the organisation, facilitation and reporting for member events as part of our HIN Consult offer (see below).

    Case Study: You & Type 2 Diabetes programme

    A dynamic partnership was needed to co-create this new digital pathway for people with diabetes type 2. Thus HIN helped South-West London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) develop the diabetes “You & Type 2” programme, from inception, including support for the selection of industry and evaluation partners and spread of the pathway in Southeast London.

    HIN worked with GP practices across Lewisham, Lambeth, and Southwark, providing project management support and access to digital resources involved in the pathway.

    The practices committed the time of their staff to training in personalised care and support planning, process mapping workshops, and the rearrangement of their ways of working to incorporate the You & Type 2 pathway.

    The CCG had an important role in recruiting practices and leading the governance of the project, particularly the information governance around the new technologies being introduced.

    HIN supported innovators from the design stage to delivery and worked collaboratively to ensure that their products worked in a seamless pathway.

    Our enhanced offer

    Our varied and extensive experience allows us to offer enhanced support through consulting services in five key areas.

    Innovation selection: We can help organisations and teams to prioritise and select the most appropriate innovation and support with strengthening the evidence base and implementation. Through our networks we are able to apply learning about what has been successful elsewhere.

    Improvement programme design and management: Co-design is our starting point for our support offer for system-wide improvement and change programmes. Our stakeholder engagement services provide access to the right people and organisations who together can solve challenges.

    Capacity and capability building: We identify local leaders and provide a programme of support and development to enable them to champion innovation and improvement in their organisations. Examples include the Care Home pioneers, Digital Pioneers, QI Training, and Communities of Practice Leadership Programmes.

    Evaluation and informatics: We deliver high quality independent evaluations and informatics support designed to build the evidence base for spread and adoption of health and social care innovations such as a new product, service or pathway. This includes evaluation design and support, capability building / training, mixed methods evaluations (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, surveys), digital health technology real world evaluations, data analytics and insight reporting. Our experience is that 6-10% of innovation project resources should be focused on evaluation.

    Grant administration, communications, and event management:

    Our support ranges from administering grant programmes and competitions, providing communications support and running targeted campaigns to raise awareness of innovations, to organising or hosting events designed to stimulate a better understanding of innovation. This work makes use of our experience in developing communities of practice and our links across a variety of key stakeholders.

    How we fund our work

    Some of our work is funded through national commissioners including NHS England, the Office of Life Sciences, Patient Safety Commission. We work with the AHSN network to develop most of these programmes and ensure consistency across the country in deploying proven outcomes-based interventions.

    We are also supported by our members through direct contributions and are committed to delivering valuable services to them and providing our enhanced offers at competitive prices and a significant discount to commercial rates.

    We also undertake additional commercial work that supports our values, priorities, and positively impacts the lives of south Londoners.

    Our aim for commissioned work is to ensure that it contributes to the sustainability of our organisation and helps us to continue to provide services in the future. Most of our work aims to generate a surplus in the medium term and any significant investments made by us must be approved by our Board, which is made up of representative organisations from our membership base.

    Demonstrating value

    We are passionate about demonstrating impact and value on all our projects through understanding the inputs, outputs and outcome measures each step of the way.

    Graph showing methods of demonstrating value

    Commissioners increasingly recognise the importance of independent evidence for effectiveness, not just of interventions but of the programmes to implement them in the real world. The range of projects we support mean it is imperative that our evaluation and informatics team is a crucial part of our offer and one we intend to further develop over the next 1-2 years.

    This has included looking at the effect on patient measures and social return on investment such as in our Joint Pain Advice programme, the number of companies we have assisted and new innovations we have evaluated, the number of patients gaining access to NICE approved innovations via our Rapid Uptake Products programme & Diabetes Book & Learn.

    We are also committed to supporting the development of an evidence base around societal impact of our programmes including the impact on inclusion, environmental sustainability and health inequalities.

    HIN as an organisation

    To deliver our ambition, we need the best people, from a variety of diverse backgrounds, who bring rich experience. This is why we choose to invest in recruiting brilliant people to work with us and in creating a place to work that enables everyone to thrive and develop skills they need to work with each other and the variety of stakeholders in our programmes.

    Our priority is to build a sustainable, resilient and joyful organisation which offers staff the unique opportunity to work across sectors and different types of organisation and undergo training through our inhouse HIN Academy.

    How we build a sustainable, resilient, diverse and joyful organisation

    Graphic showing how HIN approaches staff wellbeing

    Our co-designed wellbeing offer is central to this, and was ahead of its time. It culminated in the achievement of the Healthy Workplace Charter Excellence standard in November 2017. A wide range of developments have stemmed from this work, including:

    • training line managers in mental health awareness
    • identifying and training staff as Mental Health First Aiders
    • establishing a Health and Wellbeing working group
    • introducing a number of activities including physical (running club, walking challenge) and non-physical (book club).


    We are conscious that as the AHSN for south London we serve one of the most diverse populations in the country, part of a global diverse city. It is of prime importance that our work improves the health and care of the diverse populations within south London and reduces inequalities. In order to do this, we need our staff to understand and reflect this diversity. We deliver better outcomes because we are not all the same. Our belief in diversity in enshrined in our values, our commitment to be open, brave and to deliver our work together.

    As a result, we are signed up to the AHSN Network’s three key diversity pledges which are reflected in our working practices:

    • We commit to implementing a recognised process to self-assess and improve equality performance in each of our organisations.
    • We commit to empowering and supporting our staff to be positive role models for equality and diversity.
    • We commit to understanding the impact of our work on all members of our communities and for our work to reflect the equality and diversity within these communities.

    Those who work for us say that they value being part of the NHS with the opportunity to have an impact both locally and at a national scale, and with public and private sector partners. Those who work with us complement us on the skillset and attitude of our colleagues and their ability to deliver on impactful project tackling difficult challenges.

    Our alumni

    We recognise that our staff are talented and can contribute to improvement and innovation in many ways in a variety of roles and organisations. We develop our staff in their day-to-day roles, and most choose to stay with us for several years. We actively support career planning for individuals and succession planning within teams and offer a range of adaptable working opportunities to help staff broaden their experience during their time at the HIN. We also recognise the contribution of staff who choose to use the experience at the HIN in member organisations or the wider innovation ecosystem and celebrate their success. We are developing our support for alumni who have gone on to work in a range of organisations and roles including senior national NHS leadership roles, local NHS transformation teams, and industry organisations to include:

    • A formal network headed up by our previous chair Richard Barker.
    • Networking opportunities, both face to face and virtual.
    • Show and tell presentations to keep them updated with the HIN’s latest work.


    We are proud of the achievements and impact we have had to date. In the next five years we will build on this further by focusing on our five key lines of business:

    • Innovation and Industry Partnerships
    • Innovation Selection Support
    • Health and Care Change Programmes
    • Evaluation services
    • Capability and community building

    We will also continue to invest in our staff and the HIN as an organisation to ensure it remains an attractive place to work.

    You will know we have achieved this because we will have:

    • Supported over 250 companies and innovators to increase economic growth for London, including the creation of new jobs.
    • Helped 35,000 south Londoners access new nationally approved drugs and medical devices.
    • Supported over three quarters of south London care homes to adopt remote monitoring tools.
    • Supported 30 projects to understand their impact on inequalities.

    The next five years will undoubtedly be full of challenges and opportunities to improve the lives of those in south London and we are proud to be at the forefront of that, ensuring innovative breakthroughs reach those who will benefit from it first.