Digital Futures – Innovating and Enhancing Our Digital Nation

Our wellbeing and economy benefits as Scotland remains at the heart of digital innovation and development.

Keshav's story

Keshav is a qualified consultant now interested in the management of data and information across NHS Scotland.  Working with colleagues, he has come up with an idea and a prototype system to support the cleansing of health and care data received from patients in his clinical specialty. 

In past years there could be challenges for businesses looking for a route to market for digital health and care products and services.  Governance on data protection, clinical safety, and regulatory issues were sometimes confusing and lengthy to navigate.  Businesses set up to develop innovative products may not have had the networks, expertise, or investment to navigate those processes.  Often, a project would deliver a successful pilot with positive clinical outcomes but wouldn’t proceed further – sometimes, the funding would be based on a ‘test of change’ that, while positive, did not have a source of funding to scale up further.   

However, following the implementation of new processes and governance standards, Keshav’s route to realising his idea is a lot clearer.  The common standards and terminology in the use of data achieved through Scotland’s health and care Data Strategy, along with the agreed protocols for its access and use under the National Information Governance Plan, have streamlined and standardised processes.  Toolkits and guidance materials are available up to help businesses understand the journey they must follow and allow them to gather evidence securely and transparently, ensuring public trust and making it easier for health and social care organisations to partner safely with industry.  The clearer innovation routes provided by the Innovation Design Authority (IDA) and Accelerated National Innovation Adoption (ANIA) Pathway provide an innovation pipeline that achieves a ‘once for Scotland’ approach as well as making funding available to support development and delivery.  A national approach to the ethical and transparent adoption of AI-based tools, products and services as set out in the Data Strategy, has also been implemented.  

Keshav submits his idea to InnoScot Health, who provide an initial assessment as to whether it has the potential to be commercially viable. InnoScot Health Ltd receives approximately 100 applicants, but only 10 are selected to move forward to the next stage.  With his application successful, Keshav works with the InnoScot team to develop a prototype and a business plan. In addition, InnoScot Health Ltd can help Keshav in obtaining intellectual property support, navigating the regulatory requirements, and identifying potential funding sources to aid in the creation of the prototype. 

InnoScot Health Ltd further assists Keshav in submitting an application to one of the Innovation Hubs, formerly known as ‘Test Beds’.  The Innovation Hub reviews the application to assess whether it has the potential to be used in a clinical setting for gathering real-world testing data. After a period of test and implementation in the Innovation Hub region, the Hub confirms the project’s potential for scalability and flags it to the ANIA pathway which, after its assessment, passes it to the Innovation Design Authority as part of a proposal for new initiatives that can be scaled and adopted at pace across Scotland. 

Keshav’s innovation, which began as an idea based on his clinical experience and the needs of his patients, has been successfully developed into a product that delivers positive impact in a health and care setting and contributes to Scotland’s wider economy.  

It’s a world of difference being clear about the innovation route and where to take ideasAlso, understanding the required standards and what’s required to engage successfully with the health and care sector to help them, the people they support, and bring about new jobs and growth in Scotland.”