HealthTech push from UK Government.
As the Digital Revolution gave rise to the beginning of the Information Age, the control of data became the defining characteristic in human civilization. Data is everywhere, and informs most of the decisions we make on a daily basis.
This advancement has been progressing at a rapid pace in every aspect of modern day life, except perhaps within the health sector. The need for evidence based technology is so ingrained in NHS culture, that anything new is often viewed with suspicion and cynicism. This leads to a scenario where tradition reigns and innovation effectively plateaus.
Within this sector, medical professionals use data collected from groups of patients to identify issues associated with certain conditions, which is then used to develop more effective treatments and management techniques. Having the right data at the right time (and knowing how to use it), not only improves quality of life, but can save it. It is logical then that barriers are broken down to make way for greater use of data in the health sector.
A step in the right direction is the newly formed ‘HealthTech Advisory Board’. This board is made up of IT experts, clinicians and academics. They will report directly to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and its roles will include:
- Assisting in policy creation.
- Challenging decision making.
- Acting as a sounding board for new ideas.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“I want the UK to have the most advanced HealthTech ecosystem in the world. That starts with improving the technology and IT systems in the NHS and creating a culture of innovation so patients can benefit from cutting-edge treatments while reducing the workload of staff… The new future-focused HealthTech Advisory Board will bring together tech experts, clinicians and academics to identify where change needs to happen and be an ideas hub for how we can improve patient outcomes and to make the lives of NHS staff easier.”
Chair of the board Ben Goldacre said:
“I am delighted that Matt Hancock has created this board to inject challenge and diverse expertise around better use of data, evidence and technology in healthcare… I hope we can bring positive change for staff and patients, and realise the Tech Vision with a cutting-edge 21st century NHS. Medicine is driven by information: better use of data can revolutionise health care.”
We are unlikely to see an instance of metamorphosis with the NHS becoming a paragon of health and social care given its capacity for change. But we are now in a position to ask the right questions, to evaluate the status quo, and start to break down some of those systematic barriers.
By Medicalchain’s Tim Robinson