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Our work
Our work

Finding the lessons and recommendations for scaling innovations from Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the speed at which innovations are adopted across the health and social care system. This project examined the adaptations that could benefit patients, clinicians and systems in the long term.


The process of getting new treatments and technologies to patients and clinicians is constantly evolving. The Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) enables new innovations to become daily practice as soon as possible. The AAC, along with NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Beneficial Changes Network (BCN), wanted to identify and document the key lessons of the Covid-19 response.

The challenge

Kaleidoscope Health and Care, Frontier Economics and RAND Europe were commissioned to uncover the ideas and innovations that had real impact during the pandemic.

We were asked to identify what could improve services in the long term and to produce a review that would:

  • examine the impact of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to innovation, research and collaboration across health and care.
  • identify tools, technologies and practices which support the development of high impact changes – particularly in addressing health inequalities
  • propose recommendations to inform future priorities of the AAC, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the wider health and care system.

Our approach

This work took place from October to December 2020, and built on the considerable work already undertaken by the BCN since April 2020.

The team started by reviewing and synthesising data from the BCN. We examined material looking at health service innovation, clinical research and collaboration across health and care during Covid-19, including drawing insights and learning from international sources.

We then focussed our attention on a small number of potentially beneficial changes for in-depth analysis. To do this, we carried out interviews and a document review. The analysis also included real-life stories illustrating those changes in practice.

We hosted three online workshops with key stakeholders to present evidence, share findings and shortlist practical recommendations.

An online summit then brought together a range of stakeholders to agree priorities for achieving sector-wide impact. The summit was used to validate the key findings and improve the recommendations at the end of the process.

The findings, in-depth analysis, implications and high impact recommendations for action were presented in a final report, executive summary and evidence report.

Download the executive summary.

Download the final report.

Download the evidence report.


The research identified six core findings spanning innovation, research and collaboration:

  • Clarity of purpose: a system-wide shared understanding of the need for action mobilises partners quickly and breaks down barriers to collaboration
  • Leadership and agency: beneficial change is accelerated by leadership that supports appropriate agency across organisational levels, and supports innovation and collaboration
  • Inclusion and personalisation: addressing health inequalities requires greater inclusion and involvement of diverse perspectives, and the better personalisation of services to different populations
  • Skills and capability: change was enabled by those who had appropriate skills to solve problems, then adapt to new ways of working
  • Data and technology infrastructure: critical enablers of rapid change include the safe and timely sharing of data, and appropriate and resilient technology infrastructure
  • Evidence-based decision making: for the impacts over time to be fully understood, there is a continuing need for robust evaluation evidence to understand what works, for whom and under what circumstances

Recommendations and actions have now been adopted by NHSEI. This review provided an opportunity to ensure that the lessons from impactful changes adopted during Covid-19 can be used to improve service delivery across health and care.

We were very impressed by Kaleidoscope who completed a rapid piece of evaluation of the Beneficial Changes Network in a short space of time. They provided a high quality piece of work with recommendations that have been invaluable as we move into the next phase of design. Additional expertise specific to understanding the nature of networks proved very helpful. They were a pleasure to work with and I would not hesitate to recommend them.

Kelly Hughes, Evaluation Programme Manager, NHS England & Improvement

Our work