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Getting partnerships right

Healthcare and industry must work together so partnerships can succeed

Partnerships with technology and innovation companies will define digital transformation across healthcare. In a world built increasingly on collaboration, on connections that reach across the globe and into every sphere of our lives, our healthcare institutions should also be connected – with each other and with patients – so that they can share learning, innovation and information.

We need to embrace our national assets and invest in creating dynamic, responsive partnerships to address the biggest healthcare challenges of our generation and spearhead a digital revolution.

“Innovative technology is difficult to implement because the basics aren’t in place - there needs to be investment in getting the fundamentals and foundations right.”

Head of healthcare, international technology company

For the most part, UK adults are against the idea of the NHS sharing their data with large technology companies (55%)

Opinium public polling for PwC


Private sector companies

Private sector companies partnering with the NHS should do so on a risk and gains share basis.

There should be an assumption that established players partnering with the NHS are prepared to take on financial responsibility for outcomes.


At a local level, the NHS should explore hyper-collaboration and create an ecosystem of a diverse range of partners who can bring value.

To facilitate this, trusts should be incentivised to work closely with startups in various ways, including providing ‘innovation hubs’ on-site, where ideas can be exchanged; providing shorter term contracts to allow smaller players to enter the market; and working to evaluate solutions and share evidence. At an ICS level more should be made of local partnerships. ICSs should work closely with local universities, AHSNs and R&D organisations who can provide innovation and entrepreneurial ideas and should set out a clear approach for how they can mutually engage as part of wider local economic planning.

National level

At a national level, NHSX should continue to take responsibility for supporting technology companies to navigate how to partner with the NHS.

To make the most of technological advances, and for hyper-collaboration to work, more support and guidance should be given to companies who have valuable solutions and who want to work with the NHS. The work done by NHSX during COVID-19 to simplify and provide guidance to technology companies on issues such as information governance, CE marking, funding streams, outcome measurements and partnership approaches, in order to ensure that both sides can benefit, should continue.

The public

The NHS should work with the public to ensure they are comfortable with how their data is being used.

The public is prepared to share data – but the NHS needs to be aware that this rich asset is on loan and report explicitly on the return it gets from sharing this data. The public are essentially shareholders in the NHS, although the ‘shares’ they contribute are their sensitive personal data. Trusts and ICSs should be mandated to publish an annual report on the value they get from sharing this data with technology companies.

Contact us

David Morris

David Morris

Health Services Sector Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841 784180

Quentin  Cole

Quentin Cole

Head of Industries, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7770 303846

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