Guest article: COVID-19 and beyond – Accelerating medical innovation through technology

Guest article: COVID-19 and beyond – Accelerating medical innovation through technology

Dr Anne Blackwood, President of Health Enterprise East

In this guest short article, Health Enterprise Easts (HEE) Dr Anne Blackwood, Chief Executive, and Joop Tanis, MedTech Consulting Director, talk about the journey of healthcare development from pre-pandemic to where we are now. They likewise explore what the future looks like in terms of AI and technological services to alleviate pressure on hectic healthcare professionals.

Widespread concerns such as policy intricacy, devolution and administration all implied that, while the determination to explore innovations in health tech was widely shared among clinicians and healthcare suppliers, the capability to integrate and adopt brand-new inventions in a systemic method was always doing not have. Urgent requirement, brought about by the pandemic, nearly instantly removed the steadiness of the status quo, and capacity was created to incorporate brand-new innovations in the fastest and most outstanding pivot of any industry throughout this time.

Prior to the pandemic, while the development of developments in, and applications for, innovation across medicine and health care was motivated, paths to mass adoption and integration were sluggish and turbulent, constraining the health services ability to operate to maximum capacity.

Two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have actually reproduced a transformation in healthcare technology. The needs of the pandemic have actually promoted innovation in speeding up the advancement and application of technology to produce effective, cost-efficient solutions for formerly unmet requirements in the NHS.

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Health care professionals have reacted with agility and development as well as a collective iron will, which has allowed them to continue to offer services to patients in the face of unfavorable scenarios.

As well as the crucial commendation of the frontline clinicians and health care works for their stoicism and the true grit revealed throughout this health crisis, distinctions must likewise be offered to those administrators, directors and technology suppliers who enabled the mass combination of new systems and technologies into the leviathan health service throughout the pandemic. The combination took place at such an unbelievable speed since main bodies made it possible for the changes to happen, providing guidance on info governance and fast-track procurement structures.

Medical care in particular has seen a substantial increase in the combination of tele and digital client assessment. In secondary care settings, innovations have also been adopted, which are created to maximize space and capacity in intense healthcare facilities, enable remote working and lower the risk of infection transmission in medical settings.

These modifications had actually always been the ambition; The NHS Long Term states the aim to introduce a digital-first method to main care by 2023/4, including the goal to lower outpatient visits by a 3rd by 2024 with a focus on reducing the volume of Did Not Attend consultations (DNAs) in specific. The acceleration of these plans shows the capability of the health service to successfully minimize the existing barriers to mass combination when required and is a design that must be considered to help with opening paths to market for tech innovators.

Also, as we continue to move forward, its progressively most likely that COVID-19 will move from a pandemic crisis to a workable endemic status. This will suggest that a few of the emergency measures that made mass combination of new innovations possible will require to be scaled back and that the needed hold-ups incurred for many optional and non-urgent care procedures will require to be attended to.

As the nation moves on, while the total shift to majority digital and teleconsultation is unlikely, the prevalent accepting of these services presents the opportunity to present a hybrid model. Along with consultation, digital tools have actually also been incorporated into the monitoring of long-lasting and chronic conditions, including the making it possible for of self-monitoring for certain conditions.

The relocation to technology-enabled care arrangement has actually visibly sped up. Hospitals, primary care service providers and care houses rose to the obstacle at the start of the pandemic by evaluating their practises and, where possible, embraced transformations in the method services are delivered. This was possible due to the thriving nature and variety of health tech innovators and business owners in the UK. The UK remains a cradle of innovation for technological developments, especially in the health care area and, as such, when the time came for revolution, the tools to facilitate this were mainly already present. This was the time to think about technologies that had actually been offered for a long time, but the adoption of which had actually never ever been as top priority in the manner in which it is now.

Joop Tanis, MedTech Consulting Director at Health Enterprise East

According to the BMA, although progress has actually been made versus wait list targets, the total waiting list for procedures across the NHS sits at a record high of 5.98 million and continues to grow. It is, for that reason, increasingly likely that as we progress, technologies and developments selected for prevalent adoption will be prioritised based on their viability for reducing the patient waitlist.

This will open more opportunities for extending the applications for AI and Machine Learning in specific. There are often two opposing point of views when it concerns application of these innovations in health care; there are those who believe that AI will change the health industry, and, opposingly, there are those who think that AI and the combination of Machine Learning will harm the sense of person-to-person connection needed for the shipment of quality care.

For those concerned about the impact of AI and, more broadly, of innovation on the care sector, it is crucial to remember that progress is made by individuals utilizing technology, by clinicians, by care suppliers etc– not by the technology alone.

The trepidation some people have is that AI will overtake the requirement for vital thinking and evaluation from a proficient and qualified human practitioner. AI technologies require a substantial amount of human training before they can start to operate efficiently in any context. An AI technology can, for instance, properly tell the distinction between 2 things, or more sets of data, and efficiently identify what it has actually been taught to recognise.

Human intervention, interpretation and important reflection is required at every stage of the process of using AI innovations to healthcare arrangement. The existing scenario, in particular the waiting list stockpile, provides a clear chance for applications that utilize AI that can distinguish data and assistance in the prioritisation of awaited procedures, a procedure that needs to now begin in earnest.

Similarly, with all the new information that is being gathered by those patients who are effectively self-monitoring, there are opportunities for data analysis of everything being recorded and submitted by patients at source. We comprehend from our deal with clinicians that delivering them more chasms of information to look at and translate just includes strain to their already stretched capacity.

However, the provision of efficiently arranged and pre-validated streams of data will help (rather than impede) with providing efficiencies in both time and cost to healthcare companies. In this way, digital innovations, and AI in particular, can play a crucial role in making much better use of restricted resources, and help increase much required capacity to handle the present stockpile, and future obstacles.

Beyond that the innovation reaches its limitations, as it is not currently possible to train an AI to comprehend what it is identifying, or what it is categorising. For that reason, it can not determine the finest next action or advise a strategy from the data it has actually arranged.

The reality is that neither is strictly appropriate.

To embed the favorable achievements from the pandemic and make sure that they are sustainable in the future, appropriate funding, infrastructure and the needed labor force are needed. The effects of COVID-19 are going to continue for a long period of time and, as the NHS resumes routine services, comprehending where digital innovation can assist and include most value is more important than ever.

It stays essential that, as technological applications continue to make progress, continuous thorough examination and research study is undertaken to deepen the understanding of the effect the fast mass integration of technology has had on the experiences of both clients and personnel. The time and chance to carry out vital reflection on the transformation has actually so far been lacking and more work is required to efficiently learn from the experience.

About Health Enterprise East


AI innovations require a substantial quantity of human training prior to they can start to work successfully in any context. An AI innovation can, for example, precisely inform the difference in between 2 items, or 2 sets of data, and successfully recognise what it has actually been taught to recognise.

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This was possible due to the thriving nature and number of health tech innovators and entrepreneurs in the UK. The UK stays a cradle of creation for technological improvements, particularly in the health care space and, as such, when the time came for transformation, the tools to facilitate this were mostly currently present. This was the time to think about innovations that had been readily available for some time, but the adoption of which had never been as top priority in the method that it is now.

Health Enterprise East (HEE) is a technology consultancy that specialises in healthcare development and believes in enhancing healthcare through innovation and innovation. HEE works with the NHS, medical innovation market, universities and federal government organisations to assist turn ingenious ideas into products and services that will benefit patients.