Matt Hancock, the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has spoken of a £487 million investment into “Tech Transformation” in the NHS. Of this, £412 million has been pledged for improving technology in hospitals and increasing patients’ access to health services from home, while a further £75 million will be devoted to replacing paper-based systems with electronic alternatives.
Low NHS morale is ‘heartbreaking‘ says Matt Hancock. London: BBC Health News, July 20th 2018.
Pym, H. (2018). Tech an early priority for health secretary. London: BBC Health News, July 20th 2018.
Calamitous Recent History of Funding Mis-Management and Mis-Communication?
Top-down planning and budget allocation?
Wheeler, B. (2018). MP’s ‘horror’ at getting £4.2bn to digitise NHS with no plan. London: BBC Health / Politics News, October 2nd 2018.
Technological Advances Offer Opportunities: but Not a Silver Bullet for All NHS Problems / Shortcomings
A recent joint think-tank(s) report covers likely beneficial developments arising from four trends in technology and innovation in health care, in the coming 5-10 years. These trends include:
- Genomics and precision medicine.
- Remote care (telemedicine, telecare, telehealth).
- Technology-supported self-management.
- Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Castle-Clarke, S. (2018). What will new technology mean for the NHS and its patients? Four big technological trends. London: Health Foundation, Institute for Fiscal Studies, King’s Fund [and] Nuffield Trust, June 2018. ISBN: 978 1 910953 54 9.
Talk of Space Age Technology?
The UK Space Agency has allocated around £4 million to develop hi-tech solutions for key health and care challenges in the NHS. The NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens believes the main challenges where technology can help include:
- Managing long-term conditions and achieving more joining-up health and care services.
- Earlier diagnosis of cancer.
- Transforming GP services and primary care.
- Meeting needs for mental health improvements.
NHS England and UK Space Agency launch multi-million pound drive to improve patient care. [Online]: NHS England, June 25th 2018.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Disease-Specific Examples of Applied Technology
Possibly of interest, regarding MS, a Nuffield Trust / MS Society report examines four broad areas where information technology might enable possible quality improvement:
- Patients taking greater control over care.
- More accessible and better coordinated care.
- Improving access to the right treatment(s) at the right time and right place.
- Use of data to better meet patient needs.
Castle-Clarke, S. Curry, N. Dorning, H. [and] Wetherly, L. (2018) Improving care for people with MS: the potential of data and technology. London: Nuffield Trust [and] MS Society, July 2018.
A Recent RCN Report
An Royal College of Nursing (RCN) report on the barriers and enablers for the roles of nurses in digital leadership.
Every nurse an E-nurse: insights from a consultation on the digital future of nursing. London: Royal College of Nursing (RCN), July 2018.
A Recent HEE Report
An Health Education England interim report covers workforce training and development:
Topol, E. (2018). The Topol Review: preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future. Interim report – a call for evidence. London: Health Education England, June 2018.
On the UTOPIA Project: Use of Telecare For Older People in Adult Social Care
The results of a survey of how electronic assistive technology and telecare are used by local authorities in England to support older people.
Woolham, JG. Steils, N. [and] Fisk, M. [et al] (2018). The UTOPIA Project. Using telecare for older people in adult social care: the findings of a 2016-17 national survey of local authority telecare provision for older people in England. London: Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, February 2018.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold?
Possibly of indirect interest, the Royal Society for Public Health has produced a report on the potential negative effects of social media on population health.
#StatusOfMind: Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. London: The Royal Society for Public Health, July 2018.
The Royal Society for Public Health has also launched the “Scroll Free September” campaign.
World Health Organization (WHO)’s Corrective to Over-Optimistic IT Mania?
A WHO guideline offers an approach to weighing the likely impact of digital health interventions and their contributions in health services. It involves careful and balanced assessment of such interventions based on multiple criteria including benefits, harms, acceptability, feasibility, resource use and equalities / inequalities.
Note: “Digital health interventions are not a substitute for functioning health systems, and there are significant limitations to what digital health is able to address”.
World Health Organization (2019). WHO guideline: Recommendations on digital interventions for health system strengthening. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO), March 2019.
There is an Executive Summary covering evidence and recommendations.
Related WHO documentation: