Innovation – What is it and what’s happening?

Sometimes we can be confused between quality improvement and innovation. Here you can learn what innovation is and get resources to help you.

What is the difference between quality improvement and innovation?

What is innovation?

The easiest way to distinguish between these is to think about an innovation as the creation of a new product. This may mean thinking about patent or protection of intellectual property. Whereas, quality improvement is about enhancing the quality of a service provided.

Find out more about Intellectual Property (IP)

An idea alone is not intellectual property (IP), but when you have written it down or produced it in the form of a training manual or guidance for a device it constitutes IP.

IP comes in the form of patents, copyright, design rights, trade marks and know-how. The type of IP selected will depend upon the particular knowledge and idea. Anyone can register for IP, and once done it protects the work and stops others from using it without permission. IP can apply to guidance, videos, forms etc.

Innovation is happening all across HSC. Check out the links below for further information. View some examples of Innovations in HSC.

HSC Innovations

What happens at the innovation lab?

HSC Innovations – provide the intellectual property management service for HSC in NI. The service was established to support the identification and development of new ideas arising from HSC organisations. View the HSC Innovation Policy.

Innovation Lab N Ireland

Innovation Lab – sits within the Department of Finance (DoF), and responds to challenges where effective service provision for the public has proved most difficult. It aims to improve public services by creating new and ground-breaking innovations through transformation and invention. @ilab_ni

Virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety and the Collaborate App

Psychological Therapies

Watch this video and hear about the exciting developments in the Northern Trust in use of virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety and the Collaborate App – like having your therapist in your pocket!

Regional Medicines Optimisation and Innovation (MOIC) Centre

About MOIC

Regional Medicines Optimisation and Innovation (MOIC) Centre –aims to ensure better health outcomes for the population through the consistent delivery of best practice relating to the use of medicines. Much has been done in recent years to improve the way medicines are used and Northern Ireland is now recognised as one of the leading regions in Europe in addressing the health and social care needs of the older population through innovation in medicines optimisation. @moicni Email:

The Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC)

The Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) – is focused on business led research in the area of connected health. CHIC seeks to lead transformational research which aligns care needs with technology providers, researchers and clinical experience.

Health and Social Care Research and Development (HSC R&D) Division

Health and Social Care Research and Development (HSC R&D) Division – is part of the Public Health Agency, and is responsible for the administration and coordination of the HSC R&D budget on behalf of Department of Health, Northern Ireland (DoH NI). Its work is based on the principle that the best health and social care must be underpinned by knowledge, based on well conducted research, which can then be applied in the delivery of care.

Catalyst Inc

Catalyst Inc – is Northern Ireland’s next generation science park, and a not-for-profit organisation, with a focus on co-location of major technology corporations, world-class research and startups. Over 3,000 engineers, researchers, entrepreneurs and executives work in campuses in Belfast, Derry/ Londonderry and Ballymena.

The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC)

The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) – promotes and facilitates translation and clinical research; aiming to reduce the costs and streamline processes associated with research and innovation.

Methodology hub

Methodology hub – seeks to develop excellence in specific areas of methodology research to influence the quality, relevance and impact of trials in Northern Ireland, the UK, Ireland and internationally.

Additional Reading