Global health technology lessons for the NHS



When it comes to making medical decisions, healthcare professionals want technology that helps them diagnose more accurately, reduce risks to patients, and improve outcomes and life expectancy.

The problem in the UK is that the NHS has procurement rules in place that currently prevent even smaller companies from putting innovation in the hands of those who might make a clinical life and death decision.

“The old way was to encourage clinicians to try new products, but this has led to uncontrolled buying in some areas of the health service. This has given the firm a bad reputation among procurement and finance professionals, ”said Nicola Hall, Founder and COO of Ingenica Solutions, a specialist in supply chain management and management solutions. data for the NHS.

“Today, the path to adoption is usually a pilot project and only after that can you get some traction in the market. Once a good idea is adopted by a trust, there really is no other way but to approach the NHS on an organization-by-organization basis. This means that the adoption curve can be slow.

The NHS could gain a lot from taking a different approach, where procurement teams review innovative products alongside clinicians, says Ms Hall. It could also learn from how other countries are approaching the issue.

  1. China: health technologies alleviate doctor shortage

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, there are 2.9 doctors per 1,000 people in the UK, while there are two doctors per 1,000 people in China.

In a country where there is a shortage of health professionals, millions of people also live in large rural areas without direct access to health care or appropriate treatment. This means that they will often have to spend hours traveling long distances for a routine check-up or check-up.

To get around the logistical challenges of delivering and receiving healthcare, physicians and patients alike rely on digital channels to communicate and stay informed. by Kantar Doctor and patient of digital life The 2017 survey found that patients spend an average of 29.3 hours per week online, of which more than a quarter are spent on medical activities. The figures for physicians are 29.2 hours per week and 53 percent.

Chinese internet giant Tencent has built digital systems that allow patients to book appointments and pay medical bills using WeChat. More recently, she tested a service where patients can have real-time online consultations through the messaging app.

In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will help solve the shortage of healthcare professionals; more than 130 companies are working on the application of AI in the healthcare sector in China, as part of the government’s Made in China 2025 plan. AI-powered healthcare technology will improve the accuracy and speed of diagnostics, leading to better patient outcomes.

  1. Denmark: Getting the most out of patient health data

The Nordic country has led the way in implementing eHealth solutions over the past two decades. Its public health service collects health data on all Danes, who can access their records via The online portal serves as a central point of access for physicians and patients to view test results, prescriptions and treatment plans.

Privacy concerns aside, making anonymized data available for health technology purposes can help healthcare professionals get a 360-degree view of individuals’ health and lifestyle choices, including exercise and alcohol consumption.

Doctors and patients rely on digital channels to communicate and stay informed

The University of Copenhagen Protein Research Center recently received a € 93.5 million grant that will be used in part to collaborate with hospitals and understand how big data analytics can help improve diagnostics and the effectiveness of treatments, and to develop new drugs.

The research center can use data from thousands of blood tests to examine how proteins in the blood can indicate the presence of lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes. As a result, the health service could reduce costs by offering preventive treatment.

By analyzing the data patterns, it might also be possible to predict how a patient might respond to a particular treatment. This would reduce clinical errors and drug side effects.

  1. Netherlands: healthcare technology puts patients in control

Since 2005, the Health Consumer Powerhouse has published the European index, a comparison of healthcare systems across Europe. The Netherlands was the only country consistently ranked in the top three.

At the same time, around a third of all people living in the country suffer from a chronic illness, and that number is expected to reach four in ten by 2030, according to the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the environment.

To ease the pressure on the future healthcare system, Dutch researchers and healthcare professionals have explored ways to digitize healthcare and empower people to manage their conditions on their own.

One example is gamification. Sophie Luderer, dietician at Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital in Nijmegen, has developed a smartphone game that kidney patients can use to determine if there is too much sodium or potassium in their diet.

Knowing what nutrients are needed and what foods to avoid is an essential part of managing chronic kidney disease. With psychology studies proving that people are more likely to retain knowledge when they practice something, as opposed to writing it down, gamification can make it easier to manage their food intake. And better management likely means fewer preventable emergency hospitalizations and calls for healthcare professionals.

Finding creative ways to interact with patients through their smartphones will become an increasingly important part of future healthcare technology. Especially since young people, who are aware of mobility, are less likely than older generations to see a general practitioner or doctor when they need it.


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