Suffolk & North East Essex Integrated Care System


‘Thinking Differently’ is about leveraging the benefits of innovation to enable positive change in the way that health and care is delivered
There are three types of innovation that can make health and care better and cheaper;
  • Innovation in the way that the public, patients and families interact with their local health and care system;
  • The use of technology to deliver new treatments or improvements to the way that care is organised and delivered;
  • New models of care in particular those enabled by more integrated working between health and care partners.

Innovation relies on both ‘Thinking Differently’ and doing things differently. To achieve this our ICS is committed to learning from research and encouraging innovation, to ensure that our practice is based on the best quality evidence, and benefits all our population.


As an Integrated Care System we will support and encourage contribution to national research, including:

  • Increasing the number of people participating in health research, by promoting opportunities for people to register.
  • Improving access to clinical trials for children and young people with cancer to improve survival outcomes, so that participation among children remains high, and among teenagers and young adults rises to 50% by 2025.
  • Supporting children and young people with cancer aged under 16 to express their views on cancer services, to ensure services are of the best quality.
  • Expanding people’s access to cancer research.
  • Research on factors linked to suicide, such as debt and gambling addiction.
  • Research into dementia, where investment is set to double nationally between 2015 and 2020.
  • Linking and correlating genomics, clinical data and data from patients provides routes to new treatments and information to help patients make informed decisions about their care.
  • Developing data infrastructure to make data available for clinical research.

Virtual robots are now handling admin-style tasks at Ipswich Hospital, including GP referrals. The robot monitors the electronic referral system and when a new referral arrives, it gathers key clinical data and downloads several documents which it then records ready for clinical review. This was previously carried out by medical secretaries, freeing up valuable time to talk to patients and deal with queries.

Virtual robots are also helping hospital teams at Colchester reduce the number of wasted outpatient appointments by working behind the scenes in the electronic patient records system. Patients are sent a text message before their appointment to remind them about their hospital visit, if apatient selects to cancel the appointment, virtual robots ‘pick up’ the cancellation, search for the appointment and notify the clinic.

Partners have collaborated on an exciting new digital pilot with schools in Essex. Eight primary and secondary schools participated in ‘Digital Healthy Schools’ – a global first – seeing pupils engaging with mobile apps to help them manage their health. In collaboration with teachers and students from the schools, the programme has been co-created around a website, where health apps can be searched, compared, risk rated and downloaded – and even recommended to friends and family.

Anglia Ruskin Health Partners (ARHP), Active Essex, Essex County Council, and ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications) collaborated to explore whether there was an appetite amongst schools, children and young people to engage with digital in this way. The response was overwhelming, with all schools keen to provide their young people not just with new ways to engage with digital, health and wellbeing, but to provide a wider range of stu- dents with a unique leadership opportunity.

This was all about empowering children with information and en-couraging them to take a pro-active approach to their own health and to assist with their physical and psychological health needs. With 170,000 health apps already available and growing every day, this in- novative programme provided a secure and assured environment for children to find and use the best apps on the market. They re- searched apps from the categories that most interested them, including: exercise, sleep, mental health, diet and first aid: then compared, downloaded and recommended them to peers, teachers friends and family.

It also provided a unique touch point for conversations across the generations with children keen to assist both parents and grandparents with their health needs, by recommending apps for their conditions or lifestyle needs. Schools participating in the programme included Clacton Coastal Academy, Colchester Academy and Philip Morant School and College.


Our ICS will contribute to national innovations, including:

  • Access to genomic testing and analysis, through the new NHS Genomic Medicine Service, which begins its work in specific areas in 2019;
  • Collaborating with the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), who purpose is to turn great ideas into positive health impact; Enabling people to live independently through the use of technology in their homes;
  • Innovations designed to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed earlier.

We will listen to the needs of our patients and stakeholders at all stages of the innovation pathway, from insights to delivery.

Our ICS will encourage and support innovation by organisations, communities, Alliances and as a whole system that improves the design, delivery and outcomes of health and care services. NHS organisations can access support to innovate through the Clinical Entrepreneurs and NHS Innovation Accelerator programmes.

We will accelerate the prioritisation, development and uptake of innovation that addresses our local needs. We will learn from successful innovations elsewhere and ensure local adoption and spread of proven innovations, working in partnership with Eastern AHSN. We will adopt NICE-approved cost-effective innovations in health technology.

Our ICS will collaborate on nationally and locally driven innovations, to develop effective solutions to technological challenges at neighbourhood, Alliance, ICS and regional levels. We will share learning within our ICS and more widely, to help promote best practice regionally and nationally. We will ensure innovation is responsive and flexible to change.

Monitoring our performance in Research & Innovation

We will measure our progress and performance in research and innovation through our ICS governance. In the NHS, performance on adopting proven innovations and on research including in mental health services will become part of core NHS performance metrics and assessment systems, as well as benchmarking data.

Our ICS will also encourage our partners to be research-active, seek funding opportunities, and where appropriate commission our own research. This will help us to identify our population’s needs, to obtain local people’s views and feedback, and to evaluate the outcomes of our work.

We will use research to help prevent ill health and long term conditions, enable earlier diagnosis and access to the most effective treatments, and faster recovery. We will embed learning from local, national and international research into the commissioning and delivery of services throughout our system. Our learning will inform best practice and make sure that people receive the most effective services, to provide the best possible outcomes for their health and wellbeing.

Last Updated on December 10, 2020

backhome Back Home
Suffolk & North East Essex Integrated Care System
Skip to content