Healthcare Technology Co-operatives
Filling a niche in the English R&D landscape
Published Mar 15, 2011
The Department of Health (England) commissioned this evaluation of the pilot Health Technology Cooperatives (HTCs), which are part of its research infrastructure. Its purpose is to explore how this initiative has affected relationships between clinical, industrial and academic partners; how the HTCs fit into the current health innovation landscape; and the alignment of HTC activities to the goals set out in the NIHR strategy.
Since the HTC scheme was intended to focus on medical devices, this review investigated how medical device development is being pursued by other similar entities in England, Australia and the USA. The key question was whether the institutional relationships initiated by the HTCs are contributing to the health research system in England and if this scheme is the most effective way of pursuing these relationships.
This review had no specific theory or hypothesis to test, so information was gathered so as to allow key conclusions to be drawn and linked to existing theories. This review used documented evidence from the institutions involved as well as interviews.
The pilot HTCs have shown that there are different, but equally legitimate, management approaches to the clinician-industry-patient relationship. These different approaches are reflections both of the disease field and the host institution culture. Neither HTC has concluded how best to sustain activities in the long term, particularly core management facilities such as supporting initial meetings with potential partners and early development of technologies from non-commercial sources. Recommendations focussed on how best to support core HTC activities in the future.