Winter is coming. HealthTech is here examined how innovation and technology could help alleviate pressures and provide a solution to the NHS during the winter months.

The report is based on discussions held during a Roundtable, hosted by Demos where we spoke to leading healthcare professionals and HealthTech innovators about the challenge of ending the annual winter crisis, and the opportunities and barriers in using technology and diagnostics to ease the burden.

The report, which was supported by Roche Diagnostics, concluded that technologically-enabled developments such as AI-assisted analysis, rapid diagnostics and new models of remote or self-administered care have the potential to play a transformative role but both technologists and healthcare professionals need to be more open to collaboration and listening to one another to build greater understanding; for NHS providers to open their doors to innovation; for technologists to listen and respond to the problems NHS providers face; for common standards to help support a marketplace of ideas and innovation; and for the public to be empowered to influence the system from the patient perspective.

Based on the findings of the paper, Demos is calling for:

  1. A collaborative exercise with healthcare providers, industry and start-up representatives to develop a single set of standards for healthcare data and system interoperability.
  2. Medical technology and diagnostics, evaluated by NICE, shown to be cost effective and of clinical benefit, given equal status to pharmaceutical products in their evaluation, recommendation and funding mandate.
  3. More outcome data published, with greater access given to patients so they can make more informed decisions about their choice of healthcare provider.
  4. Academic Health Science Networks expanded by opening an incubator alongside existing accelerators.

Commenting on the report’s findings, the author, Demos Researcher Elliot Jones said

“It is clear that breaking down communications barriers will be essential for the future of our NHS. There are so many promising innovations and technologies out there waiting to be harnessed for the health of the public.

“However, there are fundamental misunderstandings that need to be overcome, data that needs to opened up to patients, standards and systems that need to be collaboratively developed, in order to make that happen.”

This project was kindly supported by Roche Diagnostics.