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Three disruptive healthcare technology trends to watch out for in 2018

The proliferation of technology in healthcare in 2017 has been monumental and in 2018 it’s only set to continue. With so many different innovations including Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and precision medicine, how will technology help improve the delivery of healthcare and what will this mean for the quality of patient care?

Through his work at Pfizer and drawing on experience gained during his years as a doctor, Pfizer Healthcare Hub:London manager Dr. Hamish Graham has a unique view of the healthcare technology trends which may shape 2018 and where innovation has the potential to make a real impact. Here, Hamish shares his top three predictions for healthcare technology in 2018.

“Digital maturity is coming to the NHS and other UK health services in 2018. Technology is being used to explore innovation at every level of the NHS, to help address some of the serious health challenges we’re facing. Taking incredible innovations and turning them into practical applications will be vital to help improve the delivery of healthcare for patients while generating efficiencies for the NHS. In my view, three key areas this year are:

The importance of quality analytics – September 2017 saw the launch of the NHS Digital Academy with a remit of ‘shaping a new generation of Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIO)’ and the ‘likelihood to transform the capture and management of patient data indefinitely.’ In practical terms, that means equipping the NHS with the skills they need to fully understand the wealth of data being generated by the NHS and health tech companies, as well as understanding where the opportunities to improve clinical care lie. This data-led approach will allow a rigorous focus on quality and every health tech provider should be prepared for this.

Realising the true potential of telemedicine– Innovative approaches are proving ready for mass adoption with a number of different startups offering competing solutions, each of which has the potential to improve the patient experience. A recent pilot in Fulham & West London proved successful, now the aim is for the NHS to enable up to 3.5 million people in Greater London to access a GP via video link within two hours of booking an appointment. Innovations like this could help the NHS to reduce the pressure on GP waiting lists.

The demise of single-service apps – UK smartphones are already saturated with apps and single service health tech provisions are going to struggle to gain mass adoption – either privately or through the NHS app store. The solutions which may succeed will be ones which accommodate multiple conditions/medicines and are able to integrate with existing operating systems and enable holistic management of health. For example Echo, which integrates with current GP record services, pharma bar codes and polypharmacy solutions.

Throughout 2018, Pfizer will continue to support the growth of start-up companies innovating at the cross-section between health and technology. If you’re a late stage start-up, we hope you’ve applied for the competitive grant process this year. The Pfizer Healthcare Hub: London initiative is really designed to support and accelerate innovation to transform patients’ lives.”

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When we launched Pfizer Healthcare Hub: London, we set out to find the UK’s most innovative healthtech start-ups ready to transform healthcare. We weren’t disappointed.
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