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Kids’ Health Matters: Case Study

Welcome to the Health Matters’ case studies series, where we will be speaking to the business leaders who have successfully used our programme to take their product or service to new heights in the health and care sectors.

In today’s blog, we catch up with Katie Barnes, co-founder of Kids’ Health Matters, a community interest company leading the transformation of the advanced clinical practice workforce in women’s and children’s health through service redesign, education and new role development.

The programme uses a blended learning method where delivery of educational content can happen both online or face-to-face. Giving trainees the flexibility of accessing the training in their own time, as well as interacting with other participating students.

The Kids’ Health Matters programme is currently on target to deliver 113 advanced clinical practitioners in paediatrics, midwifery and neonatal critical care. Women’s and children’s NHS services are currently experiencing workforce challenges; so delivering this programme to upskill health care workers and improved access to training for junior doctors will make a big difference to the care these patients in hospitals, and in the community.

When was your company founded?

Kids’ Health Matters was founded in 2008, after I had just finished my first two cohorts of developing advanced practice of paediatrics in the NHS. It was challenging knowing how to best implement these roles into the NHS, which is why I started Kids’ Health Matters. It acts as a professional home where clinicians can be connected to further develop and grow, thereby enabling a smoother transition into their new roles in a wide variety of health care organisations.

How did your company find out about the Health Matters programme?

As part of our innovation work, we have great connections with the larger Cheshire / Mersey health innovation economy, including the Innovation Hub at Alder Hey Hospital, which was hugely helpful in putting us in touch with Health Matters.

What challenges was your company facing prior to receiving support?

Being a social enterprise company in the health industry has its challenges as they are still a fairly new concept to the sector. It was key for us to focus on our agility and responsiveness in order to really transform services within an organisation as huge as the NHS. Prior to the support from Health Matters, we were so busy delivering our educational programmes and workforce development, that the commercial side of the business was something we weren’t able to focus on as much. We needed help with accessing resources and creating connections in order to scale.

What support did your company receive and how was it delivered?

Andy Cairns and his team at The Innovation Agency were able to help us see the value in our product through real world validation. We were always able to quantify our achievements in terms of number of people who came through our programme, but we needed evidence of the positive impact our work was having on the sector, and Andy and his colleagues at LJMU helped us close that gap. Andy’s Team also supported my application to the Innovation Accelerator programme, an innovation fellowship that helps businesses to access national innovation networks, resources and mentoring from some of the most creative minds in the country; the goal of the programme is to accelerate scaling of NHS innovations nationally and internationally.

What new activity was your company able to embark on as a result of the support?

We are still working closely with Health Matters to produce real-world validation, which will provide evidence of the commercial value of our programme and the difference it makes in the health sector. This will be a gamechanger for us, we’ll be able to have different conversations with key stakeholders in the NHS, to drive sales and scale our business. We’ll also be able to identify what innovations are and aren’t working and where we should focus our time and investments.

What are your company’s plans for the future as a result of this support?

Our future strength lies in our agility. The NHS has an ageing workforce and there is a need to expand that workforce and identify what care needs look like and who the people are that can contribute to that.

There are two more cohorts starting next year and a new collaboration with the School of Paediatrics, which will use our Advance e-learning platform to expand access and enhance educational content for all paediatric medical trainees in the North West.

Our concept of advanced practice is multi-professional, cross-sector care. Giving healthcare professionals the tools to expand their skills and abilities will allow the sector to provide a multitude of services to its patients and their families.

Katie Barnes, co-founder of Kids’ Health Matters said: “With help from Andy Cairns and the Health Matters team, we have been able to identify our key value proposition for the health sector. Our ability to manoeuvre and adapt quickly, coupled with the real-world validation work we have undertaken, has given us a scalable product that can provide a service to benefit and improve the way healthcare is delivered across the NHS, particularly at a time when the NHS is stretched.”

The Health Matters programme was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to support local businesses, with innovative solutions, to access the health and care markets.

By providing bespoke, one-on-one assistance, we help businesses hone their products and services. Through real-world validation we demonstrate their practical and commercial benefits.