The Dorset Innovation Hub (DIH) utilises the principles of the “Enabling innovation and adoption in health and social care – Developing a shared view” report (Feb 2021) by the Accelerated Access Collaborative NHSE, Care Quality Commission (CQC), National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and partners. Within this publication, the term innovation is used:

“…the term innovation to cover both invention (creating new ideas, products, services or models of care) and adoption (implementing what has worked elsewhere)”.

The AAC/CQC also state it is crucial that health and care systems are good at both so that new ideas are developed to solve problems and the best ones spread quickly.

To support the evaluation work of the DIH, the DIH Evaluation Working Group developed the following set of definitions to characterise key aspects of the DIH work programme.

Innovation: “Innovation is the intentional introduction of new approaches, practices, treatments, technologies and services within a health and care role, team, organisation or system, which are designed to improve the health of the Dorset population.”

Innovation Culture: “An innovation culture occurs when individuals, teams, organisations and system leaders, are receptive to innovation adoption, and provide the infrastructure needed to proactively facilitate innovation initiatives and their implementation.”

Innovation Adoption: “Innovation is not just about the originating idea, but also the whole process of the successful development, implementation and spread of that idea into widespread use. This includes; scale up, spread and sustainability.”

The term improvement encompasses all elements of the quality thread which includes innovation, quality improvement (QI), research, clinical audit, service evaluation, and transformation. The key is that the ‘improvement’ project utilises the right approach, the right tool, at the right time, involving the right people.

“Improvement, including formal quality improvement (QI) using a structured method, is often used to describe incremental change within an existing service model, whereas innovation can be used to mean disruptive change that creates a new service model. Furthermore, innovation is often viewed as a discrete, one-off change, whereas improvement is often viewed as iterative and ongoing. Nevertheless, both innovation and improvement tend to involve one or more interventions…..”

Taken from the Health Foundation – The spread challenge report

“Transformation is a deliberate, planned process that sets out a high aspiration to make dramatic and irreversible changes to how care is delivered, what staff do (and how they behave) and the role of patients, that results in substantial, measurable improvement in outcomes, patient and staff
satisfaction and financial sustainability.”

Taken from the Health Foundation – Transformational change in NHS provider

An innovation project may be focused on inventive innovation or on adopting existing innovation.  These are defined as:

  • Adopting innovation:  Adapt, adopt and spread developed, evaluated and evidenced based innovation solutions into practice in the service
  • Inventive innovation:  Developing ideas into new products and services.

The DIH is part of the Health Foundation’s Adopting Innovation programme.  The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Dorset ICS Innovation Hub, hosted by University Hospitals Dorset, is overseen by a programme group of 13 partners: primary, community secondary and social care, academia, innovation, research, economy, industry and with patient and public involvement and engagement.  ​Our small team support staff to use new innovations to support patients and our service users.  Our vision is to establish the conditions to facilitate and sustain innovation adoption across the Dorset ICS for the benefit of our patients and service users.

The hub draws on the respective partners experience and expertise as outlined by the Health Foundation to focus on the adaptation of innovation to the local context, using patient and public involvement and co-production principles to ensure that the process takes account of and is sensitive to the needs of patients, staff, existing culture and working practices.

Dorset Innovation Hub partners are across primary, community secondary and social care, academia, innovation, research, economy, industry and with patient and public involvement and engagement:

  • University Hospitals Dorset (host organisation)
  • AECC University College
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council (BCP)
  • Bournemouth University (BU)
  • NHS Dorset
  • Dorset Council (DC)
  • Dorset County Hospital (DCHFT)
  • Dorset HealthCare (DHUFT)
  • Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP)
  • NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex (ARC Wessex)
  • Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly
  • Wessex Academic Health Science Network (WAHSN)

The core elements of the DIH role are:

  • To work across the system to support partners with developing and implementing innovative solutions to address local priority problem areas
  • Support the roll-out of the national Med Tech Funding Mandate programme across Our Dorset
  • Support the local adoption and spread of nationally supported innovations which align with Our Dorset priorities
  • Assist in the identification and implementation of innovations currently being used within Our Dorset that have the potential to be scaled up
  • Support the evaluation of innovation within delivery areas and co-ordinate the sharing of good practice
  • Enable the development of staff through a programme of education and training, addressing any skill gaps that will lead to an increase innovation activity
  • Develop a culture across Our Dorset which is facilitative to the adaption, adoption and spread of innovations

There are several ways that the DIH may work with you depending on the need identified.

  • A nominated member of the DIH may be assigned to work as part of a project team to facilitate the development and delivery of a local innovation project. This facilitative support may include elements such as; development of a project plan, stakeholder analysis and engagement, horizon scanning, or the set of up an evaluation framework.  This support is subject to approval and agreement from the DIH Programme Group
  • The DIH will link in with clinical teams relevant to published Med Tech Funding Mandate policy in order to facilitate the local review and uptake of nationally advocated proven innovations
  • The DIH is also an accessible source of expert innovation guidance, support, and resources
  • The DIH have a programme of innovation training that is open to all staff across Our Dorset
  • The DIH can act as a coordinating link to connect organisations across the system, or to act as a signposting resource

Some examples of how this support may look in practice.

As a first step, any commercial company that has an innovation and is interested in working with us is asked to complete a copy of our innovator engagement form. When a completed copy of this form is received, it will be reviewed, and appropriate follow up contact made depending on the suitability/readiness of the innovation presented.

The ways in which the DIH adds value include:

  • Facilitation of the uptake, including pace of uptake, of proven interventions which have evidenced impacts on outcomes (including financial, operational, patient-based and staff-based)
  • Act as a conduit to support and enable partnership working and shared learning across the health and social care system within Dorset
  • Contributes to the personal and professional development of staff within Our Dorset through a programme of training
  • Helps to create and sustain a culture across Our Dorset which is supportive of adaption, change and improvement

The Dorset innovation hub can be contacted via and a member of the core team will get back to you as soon as possible.

We can then chat through your query and discuss the best way in which we can support you.