Driving Digital Transformation and Innovation: HETT North highlights 2023

Manchester Central Convention Centre

Greater Manchester welcomed the first HETT North event in March 2023. An event focused on healthcare digital transformation, HETT North highlighted the latest advancements and innovations within the digital healthcare and technology space.  

Colleagues from across the Greater Manchester digital healthcare ecosystem presented and attended a range of engaging and thought-provoking sessions, demonstrating the strong life science and digital sectors in Greater Manchester and the serious ambitions to connect and grow in this space. 

We provide an overview of key insights across the event: 

The importance of partnerships across sectors

“Our ambition for Greater Manchester is to be a world-leading city region, recognised globally for its digital innovation.”  

Paul Dennett, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and Mayor of Salford 

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, reflected on the growth of digital and healthcare taking place across Greater Manchester. From academia and world-leading research, to the Greater Manchester integrated care system, to innovators and industry, through our partnerships we are demonstrating leadership in digital transformation and innovation.  

Paul Dennett, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and Mayor of Salford

A key challenge is to get innovators, and the best innovations, to work with the right people. One session, ‘Supporting Innovators To Build For All, With All’, explored the role that AHSNs, the NHS Innovation Service and partners play in supporting innovations along the journey from initial idea to implementation and how they scale across the NHS.  

Chaired by Richard Deed, Associate Commercial Director at Health Innovation Manchester, speakers provided recommendations for innovators on how to access information and support by the NHS Innovation Service, part of the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) and the AHSN network 

Further information for innovators in the healthcare space can be found here.

The vision of an integrated data ecosystem

Bradley Quinn, Associate Director of Insights, Health Innovation Manchester

“SDEs shift how we use data – rather than taking the traditional approach of sending out data, researchers come to the environment to access it when they are approved and audited.”   

Bradley Quinn, Associate Director of Insights, Health Innovation Manchester 

In the session, ‘Insights from Greater Manchester – How We Use Data from Our Longitudinal Record to Accelerate Innovation’, we heard about Greater Manchester’s vision for a fully connected data and analytics ecosystem, and the impact this transformation would have on a number of end users including clinicians, analysts, decision makers and researchers.  

Bradley Quinn, Associate Director of Innovation at Health Innovation Manchester, provided an overview of Secure Data Environments (SDE). He explained, by providing secure access to linked longitudinal patient data, how the SDEs can support research and development throughout the entire innovation lifecycle, to ultimately save and improve lives. 

There are a significant number of challenges in bringing data sets together, including differences in purpose, format and quality. Claire MacDonald, Head of Clinical Data Science Unit Delivery at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, highlighted the barriers and challenges we face when harmonising data sets together to use as one, and the learnings we can take from these.   

For more information on how Secure Data Environments are improving Greater Manchester’s health through data, read more here

The empowerment of all patients through digital

“It’s important to empower patients and we can do this in these new models of care.” 

Saif Ahmed, Clinical Digital Transformation Lead, Health Innovation Manchester 

From access to health records through the NHS app, input into management of health conditions, and flexible models of care, patients are being empowered through digital to take more control of their health.  

HETT North Panel

In sessions hosted by Health Innovation Manchester and the National Innovation Collaborative for digital health, we heard about the impact to patients, carers and their families through the use of remote technology and digitally enabled care at home.  

Virtual wards support patients who would otherwise be in hospital to receive the acute care, monitoring and treatment they need in their own home. There is increasing evidence to suggest that the option for patients to stay in the comfort of their own home, whilst being closely monitored by hospital staff, can lead to faster recovery, improved mental wellbeing and greater independence. 

Greater Manchester has a diverse population with a range of complex needs, and there are stark inequalities that exist and continue to worsen in some areas. Whilst technology has a major role to play in addressing these challenges, it is crucial we understand and address digital inequalities when designing and deploying digital solutions, to ensure the best outcomes for all populations.  

For more information on the roll out and expansion of virtual wards in Greater Manchester, click here.

The importance of workforce engagement and support

Laura Rooney presenting at HETT North

“We need to make digital a part of clinicians’ day to day, not just a ‘nice to have’.” 

Laura Rooney, Director of Strategy, Health Innovation Manchester  

Laura Rooney, Director of Strategy at Health Innovation Manchester, stressed the importance of building trust and confidence in new services, to bring people on board and ensure everyone can help make them a success. 


Digital health can help our workforce to thrive. Through training and education, we can integrate digital into our culture, and realise the benefits and efficiencies throughout everyone’s role. By utilising digital and AI to save time on the simple, time-consuming tasks, such as capturing documentation, healthcare professionals can have the time to focus on the patient and more complex cases – where they are needed most. 

 FutureNHS is a collaboration platform that empowers everyone working in health and social care to safely connect, share and learn across boundaries. You can access FutureNHS here

Digital is our foundation for the future

“Manchester is getting it done.” 

Timothy Ferris, Director of Transformation, NHS England 

HETT North provided an atmosphere of excitement, pride and anticipation for the future of digital transformation and innovation across Greater Manchester. It highlighted the importance of data as key enabler and asset for NHS transformation, from driving efficiencies to improving patient outcomes.  

Through collaboration across sectors, integration of data, focus on digital inequalities, staff engagement and patient empowerment, Manchester is getting it done.

Timothy Ferris & Jenny Chong presenting at HETT North

There are many barriers, but through trust and partnership we are working through these challenges. The NHS has a powerful and unique data set, and through transparency, accuracy and harmonisation, we will see significant benefits for patients, the NHS and the wider health and care system. 

Digital transformation and innovation come with risks. Timothy Ferris, Director of Transformation at NHS England, and Jenny Chong, Chair of the Medway Innovation Institute, reflected how demands on the healthcare system are growing more than what we can keep up with. They stressed the need to move aggressively, embrace risks yet be vigilant, to ultimately deliver healthcare differently. 

“If we are afraid to learn then we will never improve.” 

Jenny Chong, Chair of the Medway Innovation Institute 

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