Written by Liam Rawson, Programme Executive
This week marks the 70th birthday of the NHS with patients, politicians and celebrities all across the UK paying tribute. And there are many reasons to celebrate. The NHS has played its part in eradicating diseases and pioneered new treatments including carrying out the first liver, heart and lung transplant.
And while the NHS has been no stranger to change, the biggest transformation is yet to come. The technological revolution is well underway and the NHS will look very different in a few years.
Take the fact that apps are already aiding patients and NHS staff. The doctor-on-demand app @Babylon is providing accessible and affordable healthcare globally. And they are not stopping there. A recent partnership with @SamsungHealth will lead to better user/patient experience and they are also planning to open up their own GP surgeries on top of powering the NHS ‘GP at Hand’ service. This service provides patients with quick and convenient care via video consultations with registered NHS doctors.
The @NHS app was also announced this week to enable patients to book GP appointments on the day, putting an end to people rushing to the doctors in the morning. It will also allow patients to look at their records, order repeat prescriptions and access 111 online for urgent medical issues.
But it's not just apps that are playing a part in the ‘Future of the NHS’. AI is here and developing rapidly.
Companies like @Microsoft are harnessing AI capabilities through their health system InnerEye. A research project which develops machine learning techniques for the automatic delineation of tumours as well as healthy anatomy in 3D radiological images. One example of this is the time saved for diagnosing and treating prostate cancer.
The work @CMR Surgical are currently undertaking is also impressive. Versius is an advanced surgical robot designed to meet the complex requirements of laparoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery). This has the potential to allow hundreds of thousands more keyhole procedures to be carried each year.
Advancements in 3D printing technology has also allowed @OpenBionics to develop their range of Hero Arms. These are the world’s first medically-certified 3D printed bionic grip arms, designed for all age groups. The company has even signed a deal with @Disney to create official Iron Man and Star Wars branded bionic arms, turning disabilities into superpowers!
Look beyond the huge technological shifts that are revolutionising how the NHS operates, and there are a multitude of less heralded breakthroughs and gadgets that could ease the workload on staff, and help prevent illnesses.