Back to school for health technology and the future NHS

The NHS went back to school this week and the first lesson was health technology.

The NHS Expo classroom heard about:

  • Some guidance on the use of mobile phones from health secretary Jeremy Hunt
  • Firm deadlines for the paperless NHS homework from NHS England’s Beverley Bryant, as well as a set of study plans from the National Information Board, adding to the to-do list for clinical commissioning groups
  • A new addition to the reading list, on the rather dry topic of interoperability from Indi Singh, head of architecture at NHS England
  • A prize for those with the best in mental health apps from life sciences minister, George Freeman
  • And extra PE lesson from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens for everyone so NHS staff can keep fit and healthy.

It was a very significant lesson with a lot for students of health technology to take on board. They heard from national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey that digital health is ‘no longer optional’ for the future NHS.

But it was the first lesson, and a whole term lies ahead. Next follows Healthcare Efficiency Through Technology Expo later this month, EHI Live in November, and a few more before and after…

Hearing from policymakers and peers at these events is an essential part of understanding the healthcare world. There is a lot to take in, but students of healthcare in the UK will recognise that these are pivotal times in the world of healthcare technology.

The NHS is starting to recognise the huge potential of digital health. Maybe those years of education, education, education have paid off…

For me, the key piece of learning for those wanting to work with a stretched NHS looking to harness the power of information is to listen to what is being said, and by whom, and see how you can help. Anything that can save time and money now, and with minimal impact, is likely to find favour. An apple for the teacher never did any harm!

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