CW+ and DigitalHealth.London: A partnership to bring digital innovation to the forefront of the NHS

CW+, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (CWFT), is one of DigitalHealth.London’s delivery partners. Both the charity and Trust are working at the forefront of the digital health space, piloting new technologies and supporting staff to embrace digital.

As part of their vision to be one of the most innovative NHS Trust’s in the country, the CW Innovation team was created through funding from the charity. It is focused on improving the use of digital health innovation across CWFT, with their long-term goal of better improving staff digital capabilities across the Trust.

A strong partnership

DigitalHealth.London regularly works in collaboration with CW+ and CWFT across our different programmes. CW+ has worked closely with us to support the companies on the Accelerator programmes – two CW+ NHS Navigators provide knowledge and support to companies on the programme. Additionally, the CW+ team, and senior stakeholders from across the Trust are involved in the interview and review process of each new cohort. CW+ have benefited from being involved in multiple stages of the programme and through this, have established connections with companies at the forefront of digital health innovation. Since 2016, approximately 15% of companies in the first five cohorts of the Accelerator have been adopted by CWFT, the highest adoption of Accelerator companies by a single Trust.

Members of the CW+ team have also volunteered as mentors for the Fellows on the Digital Pioneer Fellowship programme and a number of Trust staff have taken part in the Fellowship across the three cohorts. It was based on the success of the Digital Pioneer Fellowship and from this strong history of collaboration that a new collaboration was formed.

The Horizon Fellowship

In November 2021, CW+ launched the Horizon Fellowship programme, in collaboration with DigitalHealth.London. The Fellowship serves as a leadership and training programme specifically for staff who work at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and within digital innovation across the organisation. It aims to identify and nurture the next generation of innovators by supporting individuals who are embedded in the Trust and local healthcare systems and are leading an innovation project that will help to improve patient care and experience. Over a twelve-month period, across six learning days, the programme seeks to equip Fellows with new skills and knowledge, inspire Fellows by enabling them to hear about the art of the possible from others, and connect Fellows to like-minded peers and mentors.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with CW Innovation to deliver the first ever Horizon Fellowship programme. The Fellows, who are delivering a variety of truly transformational projects across the Trust, will be given the tools they need to drive development and adoption, and to ultimately improve staff experience and patient care across the organisation.” – Katya Masconi-Yule, Head of DigitalHealth.London’s Digital Pioneer Fellowship.

Collaborative working

We worked closely with the CW innovation team to plan the Fellowship, incorporating our key learnings and networks from the three previous cohorts of the Digital Pioneer Fellowship programme. Together we created a streamlined and meaningful programme that would benefit the staff of CWFT:

  1. Diversity of staff – during the recruitment process, we worked with the CW+ team to ensure that the Fellowship was socialised in every department and the final Fellow list would be from a highly diverse set of departments and backgrounds. This proved to be a success, with the first cohort representing 17 different departments, 55% of whom identify as Black, Asian or a minority ethnic.
  2. Wider networking opportunities – the DigitalHealth.London team is delivering all learning days in conjunction with the CW+ team. This allows us to incorporate our existing network including through offering mentors from the Digital Pioneer Fellowship to the Horizon Fellows, therefore increasing the breadth of expertise that the Fellows have access to. The Fellows also have access to wider DigitalHealth.London events, such as conferences, networking days and showcases, to increase the networking offering of the Fellowship.

The Horizon Fellowship provides a great opportunity for us to further strengthen our partnership with the CW+ team. Designing the Horizon Fellowship jointly with the team has been a fantastic way to gain different perspectives to a new project and establish a framework for how we can work with our partners in the future.

“This case study demonstrates the strength of our relationship with DigitalHealth.London and how our collaboration has rejuvenated the way we work, in order to achieve our shared goal of helping improve patient care and experience within the health and care ecosystem. The Horizon Fellowship is a fantastic platform for staff to gain and access the support they need to bring their innovation project ideas to life. As we approach the halfway mark of the first cohort of the programme, we look forward to gathering feedback and seeing how we can further refine and improve the Fellowship to ensure we provide value to the Fellows.”

Chris Chaney, Chief Executive, CW+