Health Secretary To Bring NHS Into 21st Century

The government aims to include the NHS in the digital revolution by introducing new technologies to the health service

A key speech by health secretary Matt Hancock revealed the government’s plans to invest in digitalising the NHS through a new programme, Digital Health revealed.

Mr Hancock spoke at the Policy Exchange earlier this week, saying the Digital Aspirant agenda would help NHS trusts that are not part of the network involved in the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme.

He said: “Until now, the focus has been on getting some hospitals up to scratch through the Global Digital Exemplar programme. They’ve got to keep advancing, but now we’re going to help many more hospitals with a new Digital Aspirant programme.”

The health secretary went on to say a model of excellence would become part of the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime to ensure NHS providers are assessed on their digital solutions.

While he did not go into detail about what the Digital Aspirant programme was, he said technology would be integral to make Britain a “world leader” in life sciences, from boosting medical research to developing treatments.

Improving use of technology in the NHS could also mean better medical image exchange, utilising cloud services more, and perhaps implementing artificial intelligence into procedures.

Indeed, the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust recently revealed a study that showed AI “appears to detect diseases from medical imaging with similar levels of accuracy as healthcare professionals”. Therefore, it could result in reliable diagnoses without assistance from healthcare professionals.