Partnering to improve health outcomes

The industry facing activities of the Academic Health Science Partnership in Tayside (AHSP) have driven an innovative relationship between the University of Dundee, Tayside Health Board and Medtronic, one of the world’s largest medical technology companies, and brought them together under a strategic partnership.   The partnership’s aim is to promote high-quality education, training, research & development and transformative patient care through project collaboration and joint strategic planning.

Equality in partnership

The partnership evolved from an early emphasis and commitment to identify how the parties could work together in a truly collaborative and innovative way. A focus on generating a shared vision and equality of benefit from value added was primary. The ‘proposal-funder-provider’ scenario was avoided.

Showing-casing the University’s and NHS Tayside’s strengths to Medtronic staff from around the globe and simply ‘getting to know each other’ was prioritised. This has led to a culture of understanding, trust and confidence where boundaries are pushed and new ideas explored.

Core to the partnership is the translational pathway to adoption it provides for the work of University and NHS staff. It also ensures that collaborative discussions are informed of the challenges and opportunities facing the parties, including within the wider health care products industry.  This ensures that the partnership is focussed on the most important questions and our dialogue centred on solutions.

Formalising the partnership

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to capture the strategic aims of the partnership, a comprehensive and legally binding Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) was signed in October 2015. Under the SPA a Joint Strategic Planning Group was established with equal representation from Medtronic, the University and NHS Tayside. The Group provides an environment for the free flowing exchange of ideas and steers the continued evolution of collaborations.

“AHSP is clearly industry facing, forward looking in the types of partnership it proposes with industry and provides an effective single point of contact for NHS and University discussions”
Mark Cook, Director, Government Affairs, Medtronic UK and Ireland
Mutual benefit

While the benefits and new opportunities for all parties continue to be identified, Medtronic now has access to the resources and know-how of the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside for skills training, product testing, research & development and is gaining an increased understanding of the impact of healthcare interventions in the NHS Scotland setting.

For the University and Health Board benefits already realised include substantive investment in healthcare training, new translational research and development collaborations, the introduction of novel health innovations and access to healthcare business know-how and worldwide networks.

The primary KPI for the partnership is how it achieves value adding impact. Examples include:

  • Medtronic’s co-management and substantive investment in the Dundee Institute for Healthcare Simulation (DIHS). The Institute provides surgical and clinical skills training at the national and international level and is cited by Medtronic as one of its four centres of excellence in training and education across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

  • The establishing of a European training site for Medtronic technologies, including its leading Micra™ pacemaker technology, within Ninewells Hospital and Medical School.
  • Collaboration on product development and testing bringing Medtronic innovation centres and internationally recognised academics, clinicians and facilities together.
  • The co-creation of study protocols and workplans to examine the clinical efficacy and health economic impact of new forms of health innovation in areas such as gastro/intestinal screening and diabetes care.
  • Support for multi-disciplinary groups of students to undertake projects accessing technologies not otherwise available and opening potential pathways to commercialisation.
  • Project collaboration examining the patient outcomes arising from the application of the tenets of Value Based Healthcare within the NHS Scotland environment.
  • A University and Dundee (the UK’s first UNESCO city of design) wide context for the partnership opening new opportunities inlcuding in design led healthcare, VR and gaming and collaboration with the V&A.

“For Medtronic, developing trusted partnerships with world class institutions is an important element of our work.  I have been impressed with what Dundee has to offer and I look forward to working in partnership with them across our areas of mutual interest with a view to improving patient outcomes.”

Jackie Fielding, Vice President, Medtronic UK & Ireland