Forging partnerships for health
Serving as the bridge between companies and clinics, the Centre for Innovation in Healthcare enhances the usability and impact of novel technologies in the healthcare sector.
From robots that assist in surgeries to applications that monitor bodily conditions to detect disease, innovations in healthcare technologies have revolutionised modern medicine. Before they make it to the clinic, however, these technologies usually go through a lengthy validation process to ensure that they are relevant, effective and safe to use. Further compounding the problem, these healthcare tools are usually designed for medical practitioners and patients, making it challenging to gather sufficient participants from these highly specific populations to test out the inventions.
This is where the Centre for Innovation in Healthcare (CIH) comes in. A part of the National University Health System (NUHS), CIH connects companies in the healthcare tech space with clinical experts, enabling the latter to evaluate the quality and impact of new inventions. The result is a more streamlined process where emerging technologies reach their intended users and meet health needs sooner and more accurately.
Dr Rina Lim, Head of CIH, tells IPI how CIH's initiatives have helped introduce innovators to healthcare professionals and enabled novel technologies to move from development to clinical adoption more rapidly.
1. What does the NUHS CIH do and what are your key capabilities?
CIH’s goal is to facilitate clinical adoption of healthcare innovations for public good and global impact, with our clinical expertise being the key differentiator. Our assets are our patients, our healthcare professionals and our clinical data. We focus on helping our partners demonstrate the value of their healthcare innovations through clinical validation trials, overcome regulatory hurdles through later phase trials and show the cost-effectiveness of their solutions through health technology assessments (HTAs).
CIH partners with many experts within the healthtech ecosystem so we can effectively support our innovators to overcome challenges in various stages of the innovation process. We are also proud to have built a vibrant co-innovation community. Companies can leverage this network to accelerate their innovation journey towards clinical adoption.
2. What is unique about NUHS CIH's approach to open innovation, especially within the healthcare setting?
CIH encourages open innovation by facilitating interactions between external innovation partners and our NUHS healthcare professionals.
Through our usability trial sessions, CIH matches companies with appropriate clinical users who provide invaluable feedback on their technology. Additionally, end users are given the opportunity to champion these innovations as key opinion leaders. These sessions typically lead to further development of the healthcare innovations.
CIH also organises annual Innovation 360 SEED events where teams pitch to a carefully selected group of experts who will then help to progress the innovations from ground up. Many successful collaborations have resulted from these events.
3. Kindly share some examples of how collaborations with NUHS CIH have benefitted companies from the healthcare and non-healthcare sectors.
A local start-up that was developing an artificial intelligence (AI) system to guide medical procedures approached us for feedback from our clinicians. We organised a usability trial session with our anaesthesiologists. Through this process, the start-up gained vital insights on areas for improvement, target patient groups, clinical workflow, barriers to market access and clinical adoption of the AI tool.
Another local start-up was interested in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of a telemonitoring device for pregnant mothers. CIH helped the company navigate the hospital landscape and initiate the HTA. The study is still ongoing with strong support from our health economist partner.
4. What kinds of companies and collaborators are you looking to work with, whether for better health or healthcare delivery?
CIH welcomes the opportunity to work with companies that can co-create value with us through our expertise in navigating clinical validation trials and conducting HTAs. We also welcome partners that can complement our capabilities in clinical validation and expand our network of resources to support our innovators more effectively.
Interested companies can engage with us through any of our social media channels or through our website. We will be happy to discuss how CIH can better support their needs.
5. What has NUHS CIH’s partnership with IPI been like over the years, and how do you envision our two organisations collaborating in the future?
CIH and IPI executed an Action Plan for Collaboration to signify our partnership in September last year. We envision leveraging each other’s networks and services to extend our reach, provide better support for innovators and strengthen the healthcare innovation ecosystem. Moving forward, IPI would be a strategic partner for creating open innovation opportunities in healthcare.