IDAP – one more step along the pathway to success

Sara Bristow

Head of PLMR Healthcomms

Noel Gordon

Strategic Advisor

If you speak to any MedTech, HealthTech, Digital Health or Digital Therapeutics company in the UK, one of the challenges they raise consistently will be finding a consistent pathway to adoption and spread within the NHS. It is the perennial problem for innovators, and one which the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have been trying to tackle for years.

After its launch in September 2023, eight technologies have been selected as part of the Innovative Devices Access Pathway (IDAP) pilot. These companies will receive tailored support for regulatory issues, and to help them access the NHS, improving patient access to the most innovative and transformative medical devices, to help meet specific unmet clinical needs in the NHS.

The IDAP is a great first step in supporting innovation in the NHS. It has the potential to mirror the success of its sister scheme, the ILAP, which has set the standard for collaboration between system partners to provide approval and access to innovative medicines.

The results of this pilot will help to shape the development of an end-to-end innovative pathway to the NHS – work which is currently under development in the Medical Technologies Directorate in the Department of Health and Social Care.

Alongside IDAP, the Department of Health have also launched the Health Tech Adoption and Acceleration Fund; NICE have launched the Early Value Assessment Scheme; and there are numerous reviews being undertaken within the NHS and the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) on driving innovation within the health system. These are not the first schemes which have been developed to support innovation in the NHS. And they will not be the last. For the sector, there are huge challenges which will remain while this pilot scheme is being rolled out.

For those eight companies who have secured regulatory and access support through IDAP, there is now a great platform to drive into the NHS and help to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the health and care system – Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, sepsis, MS, stroke, COPD and neutropenia. This will help patients. For the rest of the sector, there is a long wait for the full end-to-end innovation pathway, and for other schemes, to come into force.

Technology can play a huge role in supporting the NHS to deliver better outcomes for patients; reduce burdens on the workforce; eliminate waste; and tackle the growing waiting lists.

The sector, too, will be considering whether a potential change of Government in the next 12 months might impact on the development and delivery of IDAP and other support mechanisms for innovators in the NHS.

To deliver for the NHS, patients and the economy, the Department of Health, the Treasury and the NHS must align and drive forward proposals and programmes to ensure that industry has consistency, certainty and clarity on the pathway to adoption, and on the funding which is necessary to deliver it effectively across the NHS.

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