Driving healthcare innovation: a clinician-powered success story

NovaHS is a Business Reporter client.

NovaHS meets the NHS’s crucial demand for clinician-led services, directly tackling on-the-ground healthcare challenges with precision and care

In the complex ecosystem of the NHS, where general practitioners (GPs) navigate the pressures of increasing workloads and limited resources, NovaHS emerges as a pragmatic solution, designed by a GP for GPs. The brainchild of Dr Samim Azim, a doctor with 14 years of frontline NHS experience, NovaHS was one practicing GP’s response to the real, pressing issues faced by general practices across England.

Dr Azim’s transition from a frontline healthcare provider to the architect of NovaHS is a story of passion meeting purpose. The journey of Dr Azim’s creation of NovaHS began with a simple yet critical development: the inefficiencies and disparities between different GP practices could be addressed by standardising the best aspects of each. This insight led to the creation of an organisation that, since April 2020, has applied its three pillars of safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness to quietly transform the way GP services are delivered.

NovaHS’s success is due to Dr Azim’s distinctively clinician-led approach. Pooling clinicians’ personal experience of best practice throughout England, he formed a team to design a system that would both streamline administrative and clinical tasks and ensure these services were more affordable and accessible to practices burdened by budget constraints. The initial goal was clear: use clinician-led standardised best practice to enhance patient care and ease the burden on NHS colleagues. The quality of the services and word-of-mouth recommendations would naturally lead to rapid expansion.

The impact of this approach has been significant. Without resorting to conventional advertising, NovaHS has now served over 1.7 million patients across 32 Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) throughout England, having grown organically through partnerships with GP practices, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and Federations.

As the company grew under Dr Azim’s strategy, a key area of expertise emerged as clinical data categorisation and coding. Helping to alleviate the administrative load on clinicians, and enabling them to focus more on patient care by processing 50,000 pieces of clinical correspondence per week, built relationships with GP practices. The resulting conversations with fellow clinicians led to the best-practice development of further services, from chronic disease management to additional appointment support. NovaHS saved the equivalent of around 13,000 extra GP appointments or over 80,000 clinical hours in the past year alone, with enquiries for new tailor-made services coming on a regular basis.

This success of NovaHS’s clinician-led best practice approach was recognised in its regulatory compliance and commitment to safety by the Care Ǫuality Commission (CǪC). The commission’s oversight has ensured that all tasks are executed with the utmost regard for patient safety and care quality.

The triumph of a clinician-led model hinges not just on clinical expertise but on the right mindset and motivation. Dr Azim’s understanding of healthcare’s intricacies, his drive to make tangible improvements and unique perspective has enabled NovaHS to not only address the immediate needs of GP practices but to anticipate future challenges and develop proactive solutions. Looking ahead, NovaHS is keen to expand its impact, aiming to implement services at a national level to further support the NHS and its patients. With a growing multidisciplinary team that brings together a wealth of experience and insights from across the healthcare sector, Dr Azim and NovaHS now have an additional goal: to leverage NovaHS’s unique position within healthcare to offer scalable solutions at scale that address the current and future challenges of primary care in the NHS.

The NovaHS story is testament to the power of clinician-led best practice innovation in healthcare driven by a motivated and innovative clinician. It showcases how a deep understanding of the system’s challenges, combined with a commitment to practical, efficient solutions, can lead to meaningful improvements in GP services and patient care. As the organisation looks to the future, its journey offers valuable insights into thepotential for positive change within the NHS, driven by those who know it best: its clinicians.

To find out more about NovaHs, click here.

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