The Future of Digital Health and Care
2023 has seen significant developments in digital health and care, including the merging of NHSX, NHS Digital and Health Education England into NHS England, new digital health and care funding announcements, and a changing of leadership at NHS England and with new Health and Social Care Ministers.
This year, techUK's Health and Social Care Programme has engaged with hundreds of digital health and care companies, key NHS and government stakeholders, and contributed to shaping digital health and care policymaking. With the health and care system facing significant challenges, the need to foster new innovative solutions, ensure their safe and sustainable adoption, and harness the benefits which digital transformation offers has never been more critical. Here, we forecast some of the key trends we anticipate in the year ahead.
With multiple government funding announcements for AI healthcare applications in 2023, the role of AI in health and care will remain high on next year’s agenda. techUK member Deepmind has exemplified this, leading exciting research into how a human-AI clinical workflow could improve breast cancer screening. Offering enhanced diagnostic accuracy, pharmaceutical advances, and opportunities to enhance prevention, how the UK implements such technologies will be essential to ensuring that investments translate into real-world impact and do not exacerbate inequalities.
Remote monitoring and digital therapeutics
This year has seen a boom in interest in and use of virtual wards, reaching thousands of patients, and with many more citizens adopting remote monitoring tools. In 2024, we expect the use of these products to continue to expand, presenting the opportunity to liberate staff time, enhance personalised care, and bring more care into the community. Alongside this, the digital therapeutics market continues to evolve, with applications spanning prevention, management, and treatment. For example, Big Health, a techUK member, developed the first digital therapeutic to receive a NICE guideline with their insomnia therapeutic, Sleepio. The level of interest, investment and demand in this market will continue to rise, as citizens come to expect the option of a digital treatment.
The power of CareTech
As demand for social care services continues to climb, digital, data and technology will be crucial to meeting this pressure and transforming services. techUK's Five Point Plan for CareTech outlines how digital solutions can facilitate greater independence and product-interoperable, patient-centred services.
Developing the digital workforce
Given the array of new technologies in development and ongoing digital transformation across the health and care system, ensuring the health and care workforce hold the necessary skills, training, and trust to maximise the benefits of these changes is paramount. This topic will be central to any discussion about digital transformation and features right across HETT North’s 2024 agenda.
By continuing to cultivate the use of digital health and care technologies across the health and care system, we shall advance towards the possibility of improved patient care, more productive healthcare services, and greater health and wellbeing for UK citizens.
“As health and care services across the UK face increasing pressures, techUK will continue to champion the benefits of harnessing digital, data, and technology. The fantastic network of innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and clinicians represented at HETT North is a testament to the strength of the UK’s digital ecosystem, and we urge you to work hand in hand with industry to bring benefits to citizens.”Julian David, CEO, techUK