Amber Chawner, Senior Account Manager
July 2023 marked the 75th anniversary of our beloved NHS, and what a 75 years it has been. Our national health service has undoubtably had its challenges, but it amazes me that every working day it still manages to allow 1.3 million people to be seen in GPs, provide 250,000 people with an outpatient appointment, and give access to a community health professional or therapist for 285,000 people.
However, despite the enormous volume of patients like you and I that it does manage to treat, there is still more that is needed for it to keep up with the ever-growing list of patient requirements. Every day we are seeing more headlines of waiting lists hitting record highs, and how ongoing staff and resource shortages having a detrimental impact on patient care.
In amongst the storm, the NHS is still looking forward, setting out its new priorities for the years ahead. In its latest report, the following seven areas of enablement is where the NHS will be focusing its efforts in order to address the acceleration in society’s ill health. These include:
- Supporting those who provide care
- Building partnerships
- Harnessing the power of digital and data
- Investment in infrastructure
- Maximising the value of care and treatment
- Leadership and learning
- A new relationship between the NHS and the public
These new priorities are ambitious, but they are also presenting an exciting opportunity for MedTechs that are looking to gain widespread adoption. The NHS is putting a focus on data and digital innovation, meaning it is going to be looking to implement new technologies that can help them address these seven priority areas – and that means forging new partnerships to drive this forward.
For MedTechs, this could be a golden ticket, but only if they can demonstrate how their technology or solutions add value, are easy to use, and can work alongside existing the legacy solutions that are in place (the latter being one of the trickier pieces of the puzzle). By aligning to the NHS priorities and having those in mind from the start of their development journey, MedTechs have a real opportunity to help the NHS deliver a pivotal change in the way healthcare is delivered and patients are treated. However, adoption will only be successful if they consider the intricate technology ecosystems already in place within the NHS at the start of product development, adhering to all necessary data standards and requirements to ensure their product can slot in from the go. Any less, and the headache will outweigh the opportunity for stretched NHS trusts.
There are MedTech developers who have already succeeded in doing this, as evidenced by the new, exciting developments we’ve seen coming to the fore. In 2023 alone, there have been AI trials that are helping doctors in Aberdeen detect breast cancer earlier, research that could reveal early causes of Parkinson’s, and artificial pancreases being created to better help those are living with type 1 diabetes.
With new technologies such as these, the possibilities for healthcare seem endless. As someone that both uses the NHS, and works with healthcare and MedTech companies that are having a real and lasting direct impact on helping deliver better patient care, I’m excited to see what’s next, and the future opportunities that will be available to me if and when I need it.