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Commercial Advisory Network

Friday, May 04, 2018
Stuart Deed - Strategic Partnering Director

Commercial Advisory Network

The Commercial Advisory Network (CAN) was launched by the DHI in the University of Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre on Wednesday the 14th of March, 2018.

The Vision

the vision for the CAN is to create a network of commercially aware individuals and organisations able to provide direction and advice to the health and care sector regarding how commercial organisations may become more involved and better support the effective design, development and deployment of digital innovation. The CAN is intended to create an environment that identifies commercial opportunities or issues in health and care, and to make recommendations and push for change in support of citizen centred developments in digital innovation.

The inaugral meeting was convened to discuss and agree the general principles of the CAN; its core focus; its initial activities; and its overall governance structure. Subject to ratification by the attndees a Charter shall be agreed detailing how CAN participants should engage in conversations, facilitated by the DHI, regarding the participation of their organisations, in the addressing specific commercially focussed digital health and care opportunities and issues.

The Purpose

The CAN has been formed to create a vehicle that is able to address core commercial issues, propose potential solutions, and provide advice regarding the enabling of broad-based change in the provision of digital health and care. Following regular informal feedback over the past 24 months, from commercial organisations and others operating in digital health and care, the key issues/opportunities reported to the DHI regarding the implementation of new digital services:

  • We need to consider resource constraints and how we may facilitate the support of the development of the range of digital opportunites available that could make a significant positive impact on Staff availability and enhanced service provision.
  • How we can pursue other sources of funding in financing of the broad range of digital opportunities available in order to facilitate a scale development and application of digital innovation in health and care.
  • NHS Scotland is understandably risk averse when it comes to progressing digital innovation, however some proccesses and procedures dis-incentivise commercial organisations, and in particular SME's, from participating in the sector.
  • As the NHS isdecentralised in its approach to innovation tending to progress opportunities for application by individuals, or in individual locations, making it difficult to develop opportunities for adoption across the sector.
  • The NHS is not realising the potential benefits of digital innovation available from corporate organisations, who can underwrite or mitigate risk, as the sector is not structured in a manner that effectively optimises the potential contributions to be made.


The Participants

The CAN is dependent upon proactive participants working together to create digital solutions and pathways for digital solutions to be implemented.

  1. Core to the value of the CAN is the participation of businesses able to provide the ideas, resources, funding and infrastructure to deliver change.
  2. Key to the success of CAN is the industry professionals who support the design, development and adoption of innovation in digital health within the sector.


The focus of any collaboration crystallises around technical capabilities of the commercial organisations in question; the nature of the core project to be progressed; the resources available to be invested in support of the project; the financial contribution that can be made by the potential partners; and the opportunity for the innovation to be adopted by the NHS or local authorities. In support of this contribution the DHI is also:

  1. Creating an environment that enables the commercial partners to develop, demonstrate and/or simulate their innovative approach to a specific digital health and care challenges.
  2. Working wiht its health and care professional partners to establish an approach that encourages the development of innovation and provide clear structure for its adoption and spread.

These partnerships cannot be exclusive due to EU procurement rules, and there is a potential for soe overlap between activities of potentially competing projects. However, by creating a participative collaboration the CAN may reduce the potential for overlap and identify hoe commercial partners may engage effectively, both technically and commercially, with the industry partners.


Stuart Deed

Strategic Partnering Director