The Academic Health Science Network (AHSN)
AHSNs: Spreading innovation, improving health, generating economic growth
There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England. They were set up by NHS England in 2013 to speed up and increase the spread of innovation improve healthcare and generate economic growth.
AHSNs are the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry. We're catalysts that create the conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients.
This means we're uniquely placed to identify innovative ideas and technologies, and drive their adoption across large populations.
We're small organisations – which ensures we remain flexible and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges – but lead large regional networks. Therefore, our impact rests in our ability to bring people, resources and organisations together quickly to deliver benefits that couldn't be achieved individually.
And we're already making a big impact: for example, a survey of AHSNs commissioned by NHS England found that almost 8 in 10 respondents would recommend AHSNs.
Each AHSN works within its own region to develop projects, programmes and initiatives that reflect the diversity of our local populations and healthcare challenges. However, we all share the following priorities:
Promoting economic growth: fostering opportunities for industry to work effectively with the NHS
Diffusing innovation: creating the right environment, and supporting collaboration across boundaries, in order to adopt and spread innovation at pace and scale
Improving patient safety: using our knowledge, expertise and networks to bring together patients, healthcare staff and partners to determine priorities and develop and implement solutions
Optimising medicine use: ensuring that medication is used to its maximum benefit – improving safety and making efficient use of NHS resources
Improving quality and reducing variation: by spreading best practice we increase productivity and reduce variation, thereby improving patient outcomes
Putting research into practice: our strong links with academia mean we are uniquely placed to support the translation of research into clinical practice
Collaborating on national programmes: our unified programmes focus on delivering the SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) for Healthcare (supporting SME interaction), the NHS Innovation Accelerator, Patient Safety Collaboratives and medicines optimisation.
Ours is not a short-term challenge. But as our AHSN Network Impact Report demonstrates we're already making a difference for patients, the public, innovators, clinicians and the healthcare system.
Please follow the links below to find out more about how ASHNs are helping transform the health system: