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Pathway Innovation Collaborative

We are co-creating a practical and accessible approach that supports teams to confidently transform tech-enabled virtual ward care pathways to improve patient and clinician experience and improve ways of working.

Read comments 2
  • Proposal
  • 2022

Meet the team


  • Emma Matthews, Regional Community Development Lead – NHS@Home, NHSEI
  • Sally Plumb, Senior Programme Manager – Digital Community Health, NHSEI
  • Lauren Benham, Senior Commissioning Manager, Devon CCG
  • Emma Dunford, Integrated Care, Somerset CCG

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

Recent implementation and growth of digitally-enabled healthcare for patients @home required transformation that has been rapid, novel, and impacted across teams/functions.

Emerging evidence and experience identify a key challenge for transformation teams in the South West: they do not have the confidence or skill sets to use digital technology to its full advantage, leading to delayed delivery and inequity of service. The proposed project builds on previous work in the South West, including Covid Oximetry@Home and Covid Virtual Wards, as well as NHS@Home and Ageing Well, where an ethos of collaborative working and learning has been central to delivering successful outcomes.

Our project addresses the need for systematic support to transformation teams implementing Virtual Wards to share learningcollaborate, and easily access information.

Our project and approach align wholly with the challenge theme and supports expectations for a significant increase in virtual wards outlined in NHS England’s 2022/23 guidance.

What does your project aim to achieve?

To identify what success looks like we will work as a core project team to deliver:

  • Innovation Hub: a learning forum with and for virtual wards innovators to share insights and learn together.
  • ‘Prototype’: Define, co-produce and test a blueprint/approach based on learning from the Innovation Hub (including curated resources and evidence-based guidance).
  • Champion programme: Enabling spread of the approach, alongside the innovation hub, to include both transformation innovators and change advocates.
  • Insights: Capture project insights, including wider project learning, stakeholder mapping, hypotheses, and testing, plus the core group cross-organisational and collaborative learning process. This learning will feed into the above.

Our vision is that together, by the end of 16-months, the Prototype, Champions, and Innovation Hub will form a valuable resource for transformation teams implementing virtual wards, giving them confidence in the process, access to relevant tools/evidenced guidance, and building a culture of collaboration and joint learning.

How will the project be delivered?

The team covers Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset CCGs, South West AHSN, and teams from NHSE&I SW, including Digital Community Health Services and NHS@Home, bringing together a unique mix of skills and expertise across direct implementation, transformation, commissioning, innovation, and regional and national input. Furthermore, numerous NHS teams transforming care using Virtual Wards in the region have been engaged.

We have invested in building the core group and collaboration structures and are establishing foundations for developing the prototype. As a group we have brought in a facilitator and an evaluation and learning expert to support us Feb/Mar/Apr 2022. This is helping the group to build-in learning approaches.

The team has worked in 3–4-week sprints, driving forward activity and providing a framework for the work. Regular short ‘huddles’ provide informal touch points and, combined with the values above, they have enabled us to identify and manage risk well, using up-to-date information.

How is your project going to share learning?

It is a key aspect of the project to develop and disseminate learning.

  • The Innovation Hub will form an open front door to the project, enabling collaboration and shared learning through regular workshops for innovators.
  • Learning will be co-created and shared with innovators engaged in Innovation Hub sessions, whilst they are developing their Virtual Ward models and beyond.
  • Through pilots with up to 9 sites, the Prototype and Innovation Hub will be tested with transformation teams, identifying insights, needs, and resources to incorporate into the Prototype, which will be shared and re-worked with those involved.
  • Champions will support the dissemination of learning and resources through ‘network riding’, sharing insights and prototype through existing contacts and networks.
  • The Prototype and emerging insights will also be accessible on a publicly available site like NHS Futures and will be signposted through organisational communications channels, as well as networks such as Q community networks.

How you can contribute

  • Link up similar projects in other areas both at prototype stage and at ambassador stage – networker
  • Share learning about co- producing an innovations hub , how or apply improvement science to build capability – the expert
  • Provide comment and objective feedback on prototype plans as they develop, particularly from outside our own region - the critical friend
  • Provide patient centred view point or input of inclusivity of prototype plans – critical friends/expert
  • Provide advice or expertise on ways of sharing ideas and disseminating information to a wider audience – promoter
  • Where a collaborative platform such as futures is identified, provide communication expertise in defining a communication strategy to gain greatest traction of ideas – promoter
  • Signpost resources, existing toolkits, guides and relevant evidence that may not have been considered - the fixer.
  • Spot opportunities for further collaboration - the collaborator & networker
  • Think about how the transforming clinical pathways through this approach links with wider system transformation

Plan timeline

1 Mar 2022 Evaluation and learning review of outcomes and learning - through Jul 2023
25 Mar 2022 Core Group facilitated workshop - monthly, then bi-monthly till Jul 2023
25 Apr 2022 Two Prototype development facilitated workshops with core group
1 May 2022 Prototype research & development phase - May-July 2022
15 Jun 2022 Setup Innovation Hub, test prototype with VW innovators - May-July 2022
1 Aug 2022 Closing event to share evaluation outcomes & celebrate success
1 Aug 2022 QI reflective prototype improvement
1 Sep 2022 Monthly Innovation Hub facilitated workshops - September-December 2022
1 Sep 2022 Pilot prototype with 3x VW teams in South West - September-December 2022
2 Jan 2023 QI reflective prototype improvement
2 Jan 2023 Wider prototype testing, 6x VW teams - till May 2023
1 Mar 2023 QI reflective prototype improvement


  1. Hello Maja and Vicki,

    This sounds like a really worthwhile project and wonder if there are some parallels/possibilities for shared learning from our Hospital at Home work?

    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for your thoughts, and for sharing a link to your project. That looks really interesting, and I certainly think we could learn from the Scottish Hospital at Home project! It looks like the framing of your toolkit aligns well with our initial ideas for a prototype blueprint.

      A key aspect of our project is to build an engaged and collaborative space for people to share learning and support each other as they use the blueprint to guide their project development. I'd be interested to hear whether and how you engaged colleagues in the project?

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