What are test beds?

Test bed sites are likely to be local groups of commissioners and providers, including NHS providers from all sectors: primary, community, acute and mental health. They will also have strong links to social care and to the local voluntary sector. Our Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) partners will identify and put forward these sites, making a case for why they offer the right conditions to test innovations. We will also explore larger potential test bed sites that may not be contiguous with AHSNs but may nevertheless offer advantages for example, town or city conurbations, or rural areas with specific needs.

Why are you doing this?

The NHS Five-Year Forward View highlighted how innovative ideas or technologies with the potential to improve patient care had failed in the past because they had been tried in isolation from other technologies, without changes to ways of working, or on top – not instead – of existing programmes. It therefore identified the need for ‘test bed’ areas with the willingness to adopt whole-system change, and the ability to measure benefit and pass on learning to other areas.

What type of innovations are you looking for?

We are looking for all types of innovation that can have a positive impact on healthcare outcomes at the same or reduced cost and help improve service delivery models across the NHS. We are interested in digital innovations that can help contribute to this, as well as innovations that have an Internet of Things focus.  However, at this point we are welcoming innovations from any sector.

What problem are you trying to solve and what do you expect to achieve?

Test beds seek to address three important problems that have constrained the impact of innovation in the NHS:

  • First, innovations are often implemented in isolation from each other - and from the infrastructure on which they depend.
  • Second, there is a comparative lack of robust evidence about the effects of innovations in the real world, as opposed to experimental or research settings.
  • Third, innovations are often introduced on top of existing working practices and infrastructure, some of which these new innovations may even be designed to replace.  As a result innovations often simply add cost, with little or no gain in value.

There therefore remains a large, unexploited opportunity to combine different technologies, testing these together with innovations in how clinical services are delivered in real world settings. By evaluating combinatorial innovations carefully, we can identify those which produce significant health improvement at the same or less cost than existing practice.  It is these high value innovations that the test bed programme seeks to promote.

More information about the wider Test Bed programme can be found on the NHS England website.

Information Leaflets

The following information sheets may provide answers to many questions you may have about the LCIA Test Bed. If you have any questions which are not answered within these materials, or you would like to have a chat with a member of the team, please contact us.

  • LCIA Test Bed Programme Overview
  • LCIA Test Bed Patient Information Leaflet (Extensive Care Team – Fylde Coast Residents) Cohort 1, Cohort 2, Cohort 3
  • LCIA Test Bed Patient Information Leaflet (Better Care Together – Lancashire North Residents) Cohort 1, Cohort 2, Cohort 3
  • LCIA Test Bed Patient Information Leaflet (Cohort 4 – Dementia all areas)

Case Studies


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