Chiko Mutepfa is Clinical Test Evaluation Methodologist at NIHR Newcastle In-Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative. She is a methodologist specialising in health economics, applying qualitative and quantitative research methods to gauge how a new technology would benefit the NHS in terms of costs and health effects.
What do you enjoy most about working in your sector?
I love the variety of ideas that come through in different disease areas. I get to learn about the disease and how patients who are suspected of having a condition are diagnosed and cared for within the North East, nationally and sometimes internationally, which I enjoy.
How important is innovation within your sector?
Innovation is what drives our sector and is part of our existence and remit – so it’s very important. The Medtech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operative’s (MIC) role is to ensure the best new diagnostic innovations are available to patients as quickly as possible. We do this by helping innovators secure funding and generate evidence as they bring their products to the healthcare market.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
I wish I could say there was one achievement that trumped them all, but actually working in this sector, helping developers/innovators build their cases and show that their devices provide value for money to patients and the NHS, and in some small way helping shape what diagnosis looks like in the NHS is my biggest achievement, so far.
What advice would you give to other women working in your sector?
You need to have passion and perseverance. I believe that to make others believe in what you see your innovation could become needs some self-belief and grit. There are lots of organisations in the region who can help innovators and if they can get help from the right people, this will allow the innovators to show the value of their innovations to the wider public, commissioners and policymakers.
What would you say were the key challenges in your sector that currently prevent innovation moving forward?
Key challenges faced – besides funding issues – commonly include insufficient understanding of where a product might fit within the care pathway. Sometimes the evidence that’s generated does not meet the requirements that the innovation would need to have in order for it to be useful in practice. But that is where organisations like the NIHR Newcastle MIC can help!
You can follow NIHR Newcastle IVD Co-operative on X (formerly Twitter) at @NIHR_NCL_MIC
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