What does the Future of Medicine hold for the UK and the NHS? – September 8th 2015

To begin to get to grips with this question, Selfless gathered leaders from healthcare startup scene, the NHS and industry to discuss the impact of the rapid growth of health-innovation.

The discussion began with the thought that the recent influx of technology in health is a symptom of technological saturation in other industries. Medicine is one of the last frontiers in which general uptake of technology has been slow to get off the ground. Tightly regulated processes, intellectual capital requirements, and the closed system in which healthcare operates have all contributed towards this digital sluggishness.

However, with the launch of Academic Health Science Networks in 2013, and the Clinical Entrepreneurs programme announced at the 2015 Health and Care Innovation Expo, the NHS has demonstrated its determination to encourage and reward innovation from both the private sector and its 1.3 million staff members.

The panelists, including Dr Harpreet Sood, Fellow to NHS CEO Simon Stevens, discussed how the role of the doctor might change in the face of technological advancement and future health needs. Will doctors stray away from medicine towards other pursuits such as health technology and consulting? Can the system be structured to invest in our healthcare professionals’ enthusiasm for innovation, keeping their essential skills and expertise within frontline services?

An additional theme raised by our panelists was the need to establish effective healthcare outside the hospital. Dr Umang Patel, Clinical Specialist Director at Babylon Health, claimed that 80% of customers using their telemedicine service can be diagnosed using video calls and home delivered test kits.

It was argued that current trend of supplying more doctors to a growing population is unsustainable. Emerging technologies in tele-medicine,  self-treatment and preventative medicine can provide more efficient and effective ways of delivering care to the nation.

Doctors in the future will need to be able to harness these technologies, understand and manipulate new forms of patient data, and use them to provide accurate diagnoses and health plans to an increasingly tech-literate population.

The event was full of stimulating conversation with great people, and excellent opportunities for professional networking. Selfless brought together medical professionals, technology enthusiasts, healthcare companies, pharmaceuticals representatives and a disease-detecting puppy. 

This is the beginning of an exciting movement for healthcare innovation, and Selfless will continue to explore how more medical professionals and technology enthusiasts alike can collaborate in this space.

So What is the Future of Medicine?

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