In early December Elisabeth Kjellin and Karin Hedberg from MISTEL and Nordic Business and Living Lab Alliance had the privilege to go on a field trip to visit test beds in England. The trip was organized by two other test bed projects (Nordic Network of Test Beds and NoTeB – Nordic Test Beds) funded by the Nordic Innovation. Therefore colleagues from Sweden as well as from Norway and Finland participated in the visit. This made the trip extra valuable because we got a good opportunity to learn more about other test beds and make new contacts.
In England, we began with participating in a network meeting in Lancaster for the seven test bed projects funded by the NHS England in their program for test beds. We recognized a need in the projects to share with each other how they have solved various challenges. The meeting reminded a lot about the test bed meetings arranged by VINNOVA that MISTEL has participated at.
One of the common goals of all test bed projects was to reduce the number of hospital visits. Another important content of the projects is that the solutions being tested should consist of products from several different companies working together.
Day 2 we had the opportunity to visit the NHS England’s office to learn more about their investment in test beds. It became clear then that the projects are large and extensive with many subjects involved – from a few hundred up to 12 000 people in one project. Although MISTEL only carry out small-scale tests, we were able to bring them experience of our business and what especially aroused their interest was our seminars for businesses – in such areas as procurement and health care.
During our trip we also visited two test beds: Diabetes digital coach in Bristol and Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM) in Surrey. In Surrey we got to see their test apartment where they test solutions now before they will be deployed in 350 persons homes in January. It will be very exciting to hear how they handle the large test groups, dealing with the challenges that come with it!
The final day we had the privilege to meet Lars Sundstroem, Director of the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), an organization funded by the NHS England and healthcare organizations. AHSN are involved in both local and national efforts to support innovators to develop new solutions for healthcare. Really exciting and inspiring to learn about their work!
In summary, it was a rewarding, informative and intense journey with many hours on the train! The positive aspect of all rail journeys was that we had plenty of time to get to know our Nordic colleagues from both the projects and from Nordic Innovation and learn about their work and experiences.