After attending the Topol Review launch, Ian Bolland offers his thoughts on the 104-page report.
“Education, education, education.” No, this is not a column reflecting on Tony Blair’s pledges ahead of his landslide victory nearly 22 years ago, but the slogan would not look out of place in the latest report into the NHS.
‘Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future’ by Dr Eric Topol and his team has a lot of emphasis on educating existing staff, while working closely with academia to ensure that those who work in the NHS going forward has the required skills to deal with digital technology, genomics, artificial intelligence and robotics going forward. Every single one of the advisory boards call for some framework to be put in place for education in that particular technological aspect as they look to bring the workforce up to speed.
One of the striking aspects included within the report was the top 10 technologies likely to have an effect on the NHS between 2020 to 2040 – obviously given the rate at which technology moves on, these projections will surely be revisited in the not too distant future. This is a subject that we discuss in the latest episode of the MedTalk Podcast.
Telemedicine came up at number one, which as health secretary Matt Hancock touched upon in his remarks ahead of Dr Topol’s presentation at the Royal Society of Medicine, that the technology is already there, it just needs to be used better.
Following on from the Topol Review, Health Education England announced it is establishing the Topol Programme for 20 digital fellowships in healthcare for clinicians to incorporate digital health expertise within their careers and pursue training in informatics and digital health. The aim is that applicants will be able to develop the digital capabilities that will lead them to filling posts such as chief clinical information officers (CCIO), chief information officers (CIO) or equivalent leaders in health technology and play a significant role in supporting change within their spheres of practice and influence.
That 90% of posts within the NHS are likely to require a degree of digital literacy shows the urgency of change within the existing workforce and academia to ensure that any transition to a more digital-based system is as seamlessseemless as possible.
This is a report designed to improve efficiency in the health service via technology. At a time when the public purse strings are tightened across government, finding new ways to enable clinicians to have greater time with their patients means an inevitable turn to technology. Many of the technologies listed in the aforementioned top 10 can indeed help speed up the process of any administration tasks as the health service becomes increasingly paperless.
For industry, one would look at the report and see how it could affect them. In the organisation development working group recommended that the NHS should support collaborations between the NHS and industry aimed at improving the skills and talent of healthcare staff, and to review the regulation and compliance requirements for new digital healthcare technologies.
Collaboration was something that the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) touched on in their statement, saying that challenges will be “most effectively addressed through collaboration across NHS, academia and industry.”
Again, it’s a theme of embracing existing technologies rather than saying the service needs a radical reinvention. Dr Topol actually praised the private/public model there is, and the need to strengthen that relationship. Industry might have a lot to say about that.
There’s a passing mention of the service working closely with academia and industry, but there seems to be more meat on the bones referring to the former rather than the latter. Does the industry relationship carry on as normal? Or does it need to change? They felt like questions that were unanswered.
One final aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked refers to the public, with the prominent mention of patients also a sign of the need to win public trust. One of the main strands of the report is putting the patient at the centre of it all, and central to all that comes trust.
Those who took part in panel sessions at the Royal Society of Medicine are acutely aware that reports alone like this won’t win the public over, but how their ambitions and findings are communicated. In an organisation as large as the NHS, one would anticipate mishaps anywhere in any department – but for this to work two need things need to happen, change needs to be embraced and the patients need to feel that any risk to their data ending up in the wrong hands is minimal at worst.
Register for Med-Tech Innovation Expo
- [LLODO] Michigan state Dem pepper-sprayed, charged with DUI, resisting arrest, weapons possession: report
- [LLODO] Head of NYC’s posh Dalton School leaving at the end of 2021
- [LLODO] Chilling video captures moment a love triangle erupts in murder, revenge in NYC
- [LLODO] NYPD officers hit with Molotov cocktail and liquid chemical in face, police say
- [LLODO] California group files federal civil rights complaint over San Diego school district’s ‘racist’ teachings
- [LLODO] Podcast helped in hunt for 1996 killer of California student
- [LLODO] National weather forecast: Parts of Northeast could see more than a foot of snow
- [LLODO] Cuomo boasts he ‘invented’ NYS-scented hand sanitizer, faces no questions over scandals
- [LLODO] Teacher who decried NYC school’s ‘indoctrination’ put on remote work: ‘Feels like punishment’