Does the UTTO model of technology transfer fit public sector healthcare services?
International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, 3(2),
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Public sector healthcare services are both large users and innovators of health technologies. In the UK's National Health Service (NHS) initiatives have been developed to manage the process of technological innovation more effectively. This has two main aims, to maximize potential commercial returns from innovations developed within the NHS; and to improve levels of patient care through appropriate diffusion of innovations. The initiatives have been devised using approaches and processes already used in other public sector organizations, in particular, universities. Central to the approach taken by many universities is the setting up of a university technology transfer office (UTTO) to provide innovation management services. This paper assesses the extent to which the UTTO-based approach to technology transfer matches the needs of the NHS. Several significant factors are identified that suggest that the two sectors merit different approaches to innovation management. An agenda for further research into health service innovation management processes is suggested that emphasises issues including: the relative roles of formal and informal innovation processes; contingent variables affecting design of innovation processes; limitations of technology-push approaches to managing practice-based innovation; and cultural fit of innovation management models.
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