New guidance to support decisions about introducing or spreading innovations in the NHS

What is the role of evidence in decisions about introducing or spreading innovations in health care?

Faced with a myriad range of innovations – in technology, medicine, ways of working and in organising services what do those who plan and commission services have to call on? 

We know that a range of evidence informs healthcare decision-making, from formal research findings to ‘soft intelligence’ or local data, as well as practical experience or tacit knowledge. However, cultural and organisational factors often prevent the translation of such evidence into practice.

New guidance from the“DEcisions in health Care to Introduce or Diffuse innovations using Evidence” (DECIDE) study has been published to support decision-makers and evaluators in the use of evidence in their work.

A team funded by the Health Foundation and led by researchers at the University of Manchester and University College London has investigated decision-makers’ use of diverse forms of evidence, exploring how and why some evidence does inform decisions to introduce health care innovations, and why barriers persist in other cases. The guidance was developed in consultation with clinicians, health managers, commissioners, patient representatives, and researchers.

The guidance is the end point of two years work involving a review of current evidence; examination of three case studies of real world decision-making on innovations in NHS acute and primary care; and a national survey and discrete choice experiment of decision-makers’ preferences for evidence, including providers and commissioners.


The accessible document – available as an interactive PDF, is aimed at anyone concerned with informing or making decisions about introducing or spreading innovations within the UK National Health Service, including providers and commissioners of care. It provides a summary the team’s findings, questions for decision-makers to consider, and potential ways of addressing them using examples from case studies. The document also sign-post users of this guidance to further resources where appropriate.






Read more from the DECIDE team below –

Turner S. (2018) ‘Accelerating innovation in new ways of delivering health and social care’, Manchester Policy Blog, published 28 March 2018.

Turner S, D’Lima D, Hudson E, Morris S, Sheringham J, Swart N, Fulop N. (2017) ‘Evidence use in decision-making on introducing innovations: a systematic scoping review with stakeholder feedback’, Implementation Science 12:145. View bite-size summary.

Turner S, Morris S, Sheringham J, Hudson E, fulop NJ. (2016) ‘Study protocol: DEcisions in health Care to Introduce or Diffuse innovations using Evidence (DECIDE)’, Implementation Science 11:48.