As the Government promises to invest £20.5bn to improve the NHS, who else sees the “healthcare potential?” by Orlando Agrippa, CEO of Draper and Dash

Underfunded and pushed to breaking point, the NHS is set to receive a cash boost that will help alleviate the strains it’s currently under. A financial commitment from the government of £20.5bn has been promised to improve patient flow, patient access, and overall patient care. In a speech at a Draper & Dash (D&D) healthcare customer site, the Royal Free hospital in London, the prime minister confirmed the government would set aside extra funds for the health service by 2023. As the political uncertainty of Brexit looms, and questions about how this new legislation will get funded, it is critical to see investment and support from the government. Furthermore, it will require support from the industry and innovation from technology providers to make the health service more efficient. As the debate continues, and hospitals welcome the news, one thing remains constant – people, organisations, and governments are still investing in what I describe as the “healthcare potential”.

In the most basic form, our society needs healthcare. We all need healthcare. We all know of someone that benefited from an institution such as the NHS. Many people have experienced direct involvement, or family members or ancestors that have worked for the NHS. The concept often goes beyond the sheer cost or ownership of the NHS. The NHS is, in fact, a necessity and part of our heritage. In short, the NHS has become part of our DNA for 70 years and those three letters are never too far from the news. Because of this, investment, commitment, and innovation will continue to be top of the agenda for the health services – because as a society, we need it.

It is no secret that the NHS could perform better. Its primary responsibility is in patient care, but this is intrinsically linked to a multitude of other factors. These factors contribute to an inefficient NHS.  It could be argued that inefficiencies happen through archaic processes and out-of-date systems that cost the NHS money. With programs in place, like NHS Digital, and a renewed focus on going digital, NHS providers are exploring the possibilities of technology driving better patient flow, improved patient safety and, better business outcomes. In an age of “Industry 4.0”, it is surely automation, cloud, artificial intelligence, robotics and digital adoption that will ease the conditions in the NHS and technology providers may hold the key to making the most of the financial investment that continues to be made available. This does, however, cost more than just money. It needs significant commitment in R&D and innovation from organisations that can deliver real change.

Major investment from technology giants like Apple, Google and Amazon further cement the growing trend that the healthcare potential is at a tipping point. That is, the latency in adoption will soon be combatted by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and new methods of patient access and patient flow. For example, Google recently announced plans to combat disease by utilizing the power of AI. That is, to allow machines to analyze, predict and prescribe better ways of managing serious illnesses. The approach Google is taking is to make data become the key component by making it available through interoperable platforms and systems to unlock the healthcare potential. In fact, Google is so committed that their CEO, Sundar Pichai said “so tomorrow, if AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare … In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas is where the benefits will play out for the next 10 – 20 years.”

If Google can already predict the chance (by use of an AI calculator) of your very survival, what other investments are being made to supplement the healthcare potential? Amazon has also seen the multi-trillion-dollar industry as an area for investment. Amazon already sells medical supplies and equipment but looks set to go head-to-head with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform for market share. Amazon also sees the potential to bring voice technologies into homes, clinics and, hospitals as a means of artificial communication that could deliver real value to patients.  Some hospitals are already experimenting with Alexa which has obvious immediate benefits for patients.

Apple is also moving forward with healthcare ambitions by developing their own medical clinics for its employees. Investment in their own ecosystem, of course, leads to speculation that by building the infrastructure in-house, they can take this to the wider market. The development of a website called the “AC Wellness Network” has a mission statement to provide effective healthcare for Apple employees. The website reads: “AC Wellness Network believes that having trusting, accessible relationships with our patients, enabled by technology, promotes high-quality care and a unique patient experience,” and “The centres offer a unique concierge-like healthcare experience for employees and their dependents.”

As a former healthcare systems executive and now CEO of a rapidly evolving technology provider, I believe this to be one of the most truly significant moments in the history of healthcare. With a burning passion to make a difference, and to deliver solutions to this market, I’m personally very excited about the healthcare potential. With government backing, and technology giants such as Google, Apple and Amazon making moves to deliver AI, machine learning and cognitive learning to the industry, this can only bring more excitement to the industry. There is no better time to be involved in healthcare than there is right now because of the transformation that will ultimately provide our societies with better patient care and unlock the healthcare potential.

About Draper & Dash (D&D):

D&D has been delivering for private and NHS organisations around the globe as a trusted partner with innovative solutions. Patient flow is at the heart of everything D&D does. This helps hospitals and healthcare facilities with the analytical insight needed to improve patient care and flow throughout the organisation. This means D&D customers can ensure processes run as efficiently as possible whilst highlighting further improvements and cost-saving opportunities.

D&D’s patient flow solution brings together information and tools needed to make a difference in terms of day-to-day management of patient flow, strategic analysis and, impact assessments to drive potential future investment and process change in an effort to improve overall performance. This helps organisations to ensure optimum use of budgets available and resources to provide exemplary care. A recent quote from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust & Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said “we have been working with D&D for the past 3 years and our relationship has grown from strength to strength, leveraging the D&D platform to drive innovations. As a group we generate more and more data and having the right partnerships with commercial providers like D&D Health is valuable in this journey”. Having delivered solutions across the globe, and with over 60+ satisfied clients, D&D continues to grow and deliver against its targets and looks forward to delivering against the goals of their clients.

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