Today we live in a technology rich, digitally enabled world that has influenced many aspects of our daily lives, such as how we shop, socialise and communicate, to mention just a few. However, the health and social care services have been lagging behind in adopting and utilising healthtech and innovation to support better care provision.
In the Autumn of 2018, the government published the policy paper The Future of Healthcare-Our Vision for Digital, Data and Technology. The paper lays out the ambitions to better serve the needs of all users of the NHS through the use of new generation technologies and products. It highlights developments in areas such as modular IT, robotics, AI, data drivers and cloud-based data sharing, whilst understanding the need for greater interoperability and the requirements for privacy and security.
The Digi Health UK: The Future of Healthcare, Digital, Data and Technology conference is the latest in a series of events hosted by Open Forum Events focusing on digital transformation and emerging technologies within the healthcare sector. The event will highlight:
The day will feature a series of presentations, discussion sessions and interactive networking to reinforce the Health and Social Care Secretary’s vision for a more tech-driven NHS.
The NHS is the largest integrated health system in the world and is regarded as one of the best. It employs 1.7 million people and treats 1 million patients every 36 hours, undertaking a colossal number of interventions and generates a vast amount of data and information. Despite ongoing efforts to apply modern day technology, the NHS has fallen behind the rest of society with ‘outdated and obstructive’ systems that cannot communicate with one another.
Matt Hancock, The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in a speech about his vision for the NHS, said;
“Now is the moment to put the failures of the past behind us, and set our sights on the NHS being the most cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology to improve our health, make our lives easier, and make money go further, harnessing the amazing explosion of innovation that the connection of billions of minds through digital technology has brought to this world.”
In October 2018, a policy paper was produced by NHS Digital. The Future of Healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care lays out ambitious plans to ultilise technology and data to improve the health and social care systems and support patients and staff. It focuses on 4 guiding principles;
The paper commits to ensuring a modern-day architecture is in place with the ideas to put tools in modern browsers, usage of the public cloud, building a data layer with registers and accessibility over application programming interfaces (APIs).
The four areas targeted as priorities are;
According to Matt Hancock;
“The tech revolution is coming to the NHS. These robust standards will ensure that every part of the NHS can use the best technology to improve patient safety, reduce delays and speed up appointments.”
“A modern technical architecture for the health and care service has huge potential to deliver better services and to unlock our innovations. We want this approach to empower the country’s best innovators — inside and outside the NHS — and we want to hear from staff, experts and suppliers to ensure our standards will deliver the most advanced health and care service in the world.”
To deliver the digital transformation, the Secretary of State has announced the creation of two new bodies. The Healthtech Advisory Board will help guide the government on its mission to transform technology in the NHS and look at how the NHS can harness the potential of technology and create a culture of innovation, with the aim of improving patient outcomes and reducing the workload on NHS staff. The other new organisation, given the working name NHSX, is to bring together the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement to oversee digital transformation of the health and care system.
Join us at the Digi Health UK: The Future of Healthcare, Digital, Data and Technology conference where the discussions and interactions will inform delegates as to the future ambitions for a technologically enriched NHS
The Future of Healthcare policy paper sets out the vision to transform NHS technology. The changes will secure a brighter future for the health and social care system and are central to unlocking the potential of innovative technologies to support care.
Wholesale information and data sharing in the NHS has long been sought but to date has proved difficult to accomplish with systems that cannot communicate with one another. Interoperability is at the heart of the vision for the future NHS and according to Matt Hancock, ‘outdated and obstructive NHS IT systems will become a thing of the past’.
Reaping the benefits of high-quality data being available across care settings relies on the public having confidence in the appropriate and effective use of data. It is essential to have robust cyber security and rules around privacy and data sharing to ensure that information is shared across the system in a safe, secure and legal way.
The policy paper states the NHS needs “modular IT systems, where any module can be easily switched out” this will allow changes to be made to services without having to tear down the whole infrastructure - an expensive and time consuming endeavour.
When approaching new technology, the NHS needs to better understand who the users of a system, website or service are, what they need to do and the barriers they must deal with. The technology vision promotes the use of personal technology for patients to make choices and self-manage their healthcare and support greater independence, as well as data and information sharing throughout the system to improve outcomes.
The UK has many of the world’s leading HealthTech companies, as well as world-class research and academic institutes and the world’s biggest health institution. The vision is for the health service to support safe and effective innovations, promote their testing and iteration and benefit from their utlilisation. The government want the UK to lead the world in the development of innovations to support people to live healthy and independent lives for longer, working closely with industry to develop new attractive technologies.
The government’s industrial strategy set out the Artificial Intelligence and Data Grand Challenge. For healthcare, the mission is to use data, artificial Intelligence and innovation to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases by 2030.
A newly released report by Dr Eric Topol has concluded the NHS must “focus on building a digital ready workforce”. To deliver the digital, data and technology agenda, the health and social care system needs the right skills. Empowering the workforce with enough technical expertise will enable them to identify opportunities where technology can help meet user needs and to implement new technology.
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