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Top 50 healthcare innovator appointed as Health Innovation Manchester’s Chief Executive Officer


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Professor Ben Bridgewater, a digital trailblazer in healthcare and former cardiac surgeon, who was named as one of the UK’s top 50 health innovators, has been appointed as Health Innovation Manchester’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Health Innovation Manchester is an academic health science system established to drive proven innovation into health and social care services at pace. It brings together the region’s universities, research bodies, NHS, local government, the third sector and industry.

54-year-old Professor Bridgewater, who describes himself as a ‘champion of digital transformation in healthcare’, will join Health Innovation Manchester on 29 January 2018.

Since 2016, Professor Bridgewater has held a leading role with global IT services company, DXC Technology, developing innovative solutions and guiding healthcare providers in digital transformation, including integrating insights into health and social care from more digitally transformed industries.

Previously, Professor Bridgewater was a Manchester-based consultant cardiac surgeon for nearly 18 years and was awarded a Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) honorary professorship in recognition of his achievements in cardiac surgery in 2012.

A varied working life has seen Professor Bridgewater hold a number of high profile clinical and leadership appointments, develop an active research programme (focused on analysis methodologies and hypothesis testing) and introduce the pioneering practice of cardiac surgery data disclosure.  He is an expert on health informatics, national clinical audit, clinical governance, healthcare transparency, patient experience measurement and digital transformation in healthcare.

“Professor Bridgewater is joining a brilliant organisation with a profoundly important purpose - to improve the health of Greater Manchester’s 2.8m citizens, by working with our universities and industry to accelerate innovation in treatments and health and care services” said Rowena Burns, Health Innovation Manchester’s Chair. “Our partnership is unique in the UK and working with the region’s devolved health and care system, we have a fantastic opportunity to break down the barriers to innovation and bring forward transformational change in health outcomes.

“Professor Bridgewater has a rare blend of first-rate academic, clinical and commercial skills and experience. He understands our health care system from the inside and, having worked in the global digital industry, also appreciates industry requirements and the immense value that the sector brings to meeting the health and care needs of our citizens. 

“His public-private sector experience will also be crucial in developing the broad-based partnerships that will deliver benefits in the health and social care system, and the wider Greater Manchester economy.”

For two consecutive years, 2013 and 14, Professor Bridgewater was recognised by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) as one of the UK’s top 50 health innovators for his work in analysing and publishing data on cardiac surgical outcomes in the UK, and pioneering a new system of transparency, designed to drive up standards of treatment and care across the NHS.  He was described by the HSJ as “one of the leaders in measuring quality in the NHS”.

Commenting on his appointment Professor Bridgewater said “It is exciting to be joining Health Innovation Manchester at this point.  There are massive opportunities, particularly through the use of digital technologies, for our academic health science system to address the public health challenges in new ways and bring significant system-level improvements.  I look forward to working with Rowena Burns and the Health Innovation Manchester Board, the management team, staff and our partners to leverage all our clinical-academic assets and further develop Manchester as an internationally important hub for the healthcare technology and life sciences industries.”

Professor Bridgewater is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and a Member of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in GB and Ireland.

Katie Droogan