The overarching consensus is that health and social care delivery needs to change. Transformation is taking place throughout the NHS with changes in culture, structure, governance, workforce and training, however, the greatest challenge involves the exploitation of technology and digital processes to establish an innovative healthcare system for the modern age and beyond.
Digital Healthcare: Cutting Edge Innovation is the very latest in a series of conferences, analysing the NHS’s progress in adopting the most up to date technologies, as it evolves towards complete digitisation.
The transformation towards an IT enabled health service started in the 1980s and although the process has suffered some major setbacks, most notably the National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT), there has been a steady momentum in the implementation of digital technologies. However, a recent report by the House of Lords Select Committee suggests that the uptake of digital innovation is ‘slow’ and that the government should make the adoption of technologies a ‘priority’ for the NHS.
There have been several reviews, reports and initiatives, plus specified funding, to support the uptake of innovation and the embedment of digital technologies throughout the healthcare system. Promoting telecare, telehealth, mobile working, data management, diagnostics tools, communications and information sharing are crucial to enhancing improved outcomes, through the delivery of effective and efficient patient care, during a time of increasing demand.
At Digital Healthcare: Cutting Edge Innovation an outstanding agenda of speakers will update delegates on the very latest developments happening within the NHS, as it strives to modernise in the digital era. We will hear about the latest recommendations that are shaping policy and the subsequent support that is being made available to make advancements. The conference will serve as an opportunity to be updated on some of the latest issues surrounding data protection and security, whilst reiterating the importance of information sharing to achieve interoperability and greater integration. We will learn how technology is now being utilised more effectively in public health and how it is providing patients the chance to self-manage their conditions better. The conference will also showcase innovative products, some for the present day, some more for the future, to reveal the true power of technology.
The momentum toward a world class innovative and technologically enriched NHS is increasing as the route to digital excellence is fast tracked.
Reviews undertaken by Robert Wachter considering the digitisation of secondary hospitals and the Accelerated Access Review analysing innovative diagnostic tools, treatments and medical technologies, have both made recommendations which will forward the technological innovation agenda.
Subsequent initiatives include the recent announcement of funding worth £86m to support UK businesses to develop medical breakthroughs. This follows funding commitments of £10m to the global exemplars who are pioneering digital services with further funding set aside to expand the programme.
The establishment of the NHS Digital Academy will be tasked to up skill NHS staff in informatics, providing specialist IT training to 300 senior clinicians and health managers over a 12-month period.
The NHS has long been accused of being fragmented and working within silos, lacking the ability to communicate and coordinate effectively with other partners working within the health and social care system and beyond. IT exists to develop interoperable systems that can overcome information exchange issues and promote greater integration across care providers.
Sharing of such information, however, carries significant responsibility. The NHS holds millions of computerised records, many of which are highly sensitive and all of which are subject to strict data protection legislation. The new EU General Data Protection Regulation will come into force in May 2018. The regulation will force NHS departments to fully analyse their digital functions, including processes for the storage, security and identification of patient data.
As part of the NHS’s commitments to protect information, robust cyber security measures are crucial to mitigate the threat of IT systems being hacked and infected. The recent ransomware attack revealed the vulnerability of the NHS infrastructure. In response, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has pledged extra funding to improve cyber security to help protect NHS information. £21m will be shared amongst hospitals in England that form part of the NHS’s network of trauma centres to improve resilience to cyber attack by updating IT systems and improve staff training.
Early 2017 saw the publication of Public Health England’s (PHE) strategy for digital engagement. Digital-first public health: Public Health England's digital strategy, lays out the plans for PHE to utilise digital technologies to improve population health and reduce inequalities. Digital engagement will be at the heart of developing new models of public health initiatives and look to include digital tools and incorporate data science techniques and new learning.
Confined historically to the imagination of science fiction writers; and currently, a feature of manufacturing automation; artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are the future for healthcare. With promises of developing the perfect doctor, a recent survey by PwC explored the attitudes of patients toward AI and the prospect of replacing nurses and doctors by robots. 39% of those surveyed revealed they would be willing to engage with AI/robotics, although this figure revealed that the UK is the most sceptical out of the 12 countries that took part across Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Men are notably more willing in the UK to interact with AI/robotics, whilst younger respondents were more receptive than their older counterparts.
Join us at the Digital Healthcare: Cutting Edge Innovation conference to update your knowhow on digital matters within the NHS and enhance your innovative thinking.
A recently published House of Lords Select Committee report emphasises the importance of technology and data use across the NHS, however, surmises that the uptake of digital innovation is ‘slow’ across the NHS, possibly due to ‘inadequate levels of funding’ or ‘persistent cultures of complacency’. How can the journey toward an innovative, technology rich and fully digitised NHS be speeded up?
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation will require significant effort to better protect and process personal data. The NHS holds millions of records of patient data and must continually look to find ways to protect and manage this patient information, which is some of the most sensitive personal information that exists.
In May 2017, the NHS was subject to a major cyber-attack on its systems as it fell victim to WannaCry ransomware attack. It caused major disruption preventing 48 hospital trusts in England and several GP surgeries in England and Scotland from accessing patient data and led to operations and appointments being cancelled and delayed. How can the NHS better protect itself from future attacks?
Putting innovative ideas into practice can create a culture of change, support, and improvement. Maximising the value of technologies such as telehealth, telecare, telemedicine, telecoaching and self-care apps creates the potential for people to be empowered to manage their own healthcare in the right way, at the right time and in the right place.
The engagement by the majority of the population with technology and digital innovation presents new opportunities and challenges for Public Health England to connect and interact with people. The PHE strategy encompasses new thinking about public health provision models, data, governance, partnership and engagement.
Advanced technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, have the potential to deliver better, faster and more accessible care. Although the human clinician has not been replaced just yet, the emergence and increasing use of these technologies will transform healthcare delivery in the future.
With the NHS undergoing a sustained period of transformation, there is a clear need for more effective information sharing between care settings, organisations and geographies, as well as between professionals and citizens, to optimise patient outcomes and quality of care. This is reliant on the ability of IT systems across health and care to be interoperable with one another and is key to the delivery of the future vision of care in England.
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