Next week I shall be taking part in my first meeting as a lay member of NIHR’s ‘Invention 4 Innovation’ programme.
I have had a number of conversations with people recently about how patients are and should be involved in the field of what is jargonistically called ‘technology pull’ – getting new technologies into health care settings for the benefit of patients.
For those interested in this aspect of public involvement you might be interested in two initiatives under ‘I4I’s’ auspices that are aimed at addressing areas of unmet clinical need and where innovations in treatments and technologies have the potential to make a high impact by both reducing morbidity/improving quality of life for a large population of patients, and improving the effectiveness of the health and care services supporting them.
The two pilots have been funded up to £250K a year for five years by NIHR and the Technology Strategy Board with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council.
More information is available form the pilots’ respective websites but a good colleague from NIHR sent me these potted descriptions that I thought I would cut and paste here:
Enteric – the Bowel Function HTC – is piloting innovative ways in which to bring together patients, carers, doctors, scientists and industry to develop new technologies, treatments and devices in the field of bowel disorders .
Devices for Dignity HTC has been set up to drive forward innovative new products, processes and services to help people with debilitating conditions deal with their daily challenges. D4D works with inventors, clinical and healthcare staff, industry, academics and patients and has the ability to take ideas from concept through to commercialisation, aiming to do this as rapidly as possible. Their current focus is on assistive technology, urinary continence management and renal technology.
In the last few weeks I’ve had a bit more time to look at a few publications that have been on my reading list.
Again, with the subject of public involvement in the innovation pipeline very much front-of-mind, my head was turned by this report last month from the EU Science in Society programme about ‘Responsible Research and Innovation.’ The main thrust of this concept is how we ensure research is conducted that is of social benefit. There is a welcome and long section in this report on the importance of public involvement and a refreshing critique of the poor performance of many research funders in this regard.
You might also want to read Jack Stilgoe’s piece this week on the RSC website about the inability of Government to now fund and direct the science we need as opposed to the science we want. Not sure I agree with the implicit suggestion from Jack that Government needs to directly hold some reins/funds although I certainly agree with his concerns about how the current funding system does not necessarily address the key societal issues that worry us all. One of the reasons for my lack of confidence in the former is how – outside health research – Government has often failed to engage and involve the public to the degree it should.
Jack also has a rather good blog of his own which you should make time to visit.