Amid the surge of new technologies in healthcare, such as the rise of artificial intelligence and the promise of personalised medicine, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been slow to keep up.
That may be about to change now that the UK government has recognised this issue, and at the end of February, formed NHSX, a new joint unit responsible for driving digital, data and technology advances in the NHS for the benefits of both patients and staff.
Whilst previously this responsibility had been split across multiple organisations, NHSX will take up the mantle to deliver the NHS tech vision with the help of policy and industry experts in technology, digital, data and cyber security. As well as setting new policies and standards of service, NHSX will also strive to implement new technologies into the NHS, from reliable and secure transfer of data across NHS systems to user-focused projects to directly improve clinical patient care.
UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “We’ve set out a clear tech vision for the NHS, which underpins our NHS Long Term Plan. Now we’re bringing together the tech leadership into NHSX, which will be responsible for harnessing the true potential of technology to transform care, save lives, free up clinicians’ time and empower patients to take greater control of their own health.”
That being said, it’s not going to be easy. Widespread implementation of new technology into the world’s largest healthcare provider that currently uses a plethora of antiquated systems, will always remain a challenge. But perhaps with a new body in position to drive the change, it may open up new opportunities for health technologies to make their mark on the NHS, and see the UK’s healthcare services move nearer the forefront of the health tech race.