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Clinical innovation team goes virtual

There has never been a more pressing time to find solutions to clinical need. The Clinical Innovation Partnership forged between Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in 2016 is itself being innovative: monthly meetings of its highly successful Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) are now being hosted as virtual sessions as substitutes for its usual face to face meetings. The MDT brings together a panel of experienced clinicians, academics, industry and private sector specialists to advise people with new innovations and ideas. Here, Professor Ian Weeks OBE, Dean of Clinical Innovation at Cardiff University’s College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, examines its success.

“The Clinical Innovation Partnership between Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board established the MDT a few years ago as a unique opportunity to help people progress their ideas for innovation in health and social care and to develop them into solutions that address clinical need.

The pathway from an idea to practical application is often long and complex in this field and so advice and guidance from people with a wide range of skills, expertise and knowledge is invaluable.

In particular, successful collaborations between the healthcare, academic and industry sectors are acknowledged as being instrumental in contemporaneously delivering benefits to patients, population, the health economy and economic development more generally.

Examples of areas where the MDT has led to progress with ideas include digital innovations (“Apps”) for patient and/or physician support, new diagnostic tools for early detection and characterisation of infections and cancer and also devices to improve surgical procedures.

The aim of the MDT has therefore been to provide advice and support to individuals working within any of these sectors who have ideas that might offer significant improvements in health and social care.

The MDT comprises a large group of people with a wide range of knowledge and experience including in, for example, life sciences, clinical medicine, engineering, business, intellectual property, medical device regulations and industry.

Individuals are invited to present their idea and to discuss it with the Team in order to identify possible ways to take the idea forward. In addition to advising on the opportunities to develop the idea and potential pathways, the MDT has access to people and networks that may be able to offer further specialist advice and potential funding opportunities for such development”.

To date, the MDT has met monthly and assisted over a hundred individuals or groups in progressing their ideas. Not unexpectedly the present COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily disrupted these meetings but this month sees a return of the MDT monthly meeting albeit in a virtual rather than physical form. The illustration shows the breadth of areas encompassed by the ideas supported by the MDT.

As Professor Jared Torkington, Consultant Surgeon and MDT Chairman, puts it: “The MDT is not a dragon’s den, rather it offers a welcoming and supportive environment to encourage innovation in health and social care. I am delighted that we get requests from individuals or groups from a range of healthcare organisations, universities and businesses. Clearly this underscores the need for such an ideas forum and I hope that others will find our model useful.”

All in all, a good start. But there is still much to do.”

Further information on the Clinical Innovation MDT is available from Julie Hayward ( ) or Barbara Coles ( ) at the Clinical Innovation Hub.

Professor Ian Weeks, Dean of Clinical Innovation, Cardiff University





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