News

An ode to the power of data and technology – an evening with Jeremy Hunt

By Charlotte Highmore, Senior Account Executive

Drawn from a cross section of the UK’s healthcare system leadership, the CHN audience at our first event of the year did not disappoint, as they listened to and questioned the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health.

We heard that the NHS is the envy of the world because our unified system surpasses other countries’ ability to use data to transform the delivery of health and social care. Referring to Dr Eric Topol’s The Patient Will See You Now, which argues that we now can have unprecedented control over our healthcare thanks to technology, we heard that data science will overtake biological science in the next decade; fast tracking the biggest developments in medicine history for the last two millennia.

The NHS can and should be at the forefront.

The NHS’ victories in technology and data were celebrated with some of the results standing proud:

  • Transparency in data – My NHS holds over 600,000 pieces of data
  • 97% of GP practices now allow patients to book appointments online, with 13% uptake within these practices
  • Over 3,000 genomes have already been mapped with their clinical history
  • From April 2016 the UK will be the first country in the world where its citizens can access their own patient record.

Concerns regarding data security were highlighted. There was apprehension around basic issues such as the physical security of the server rooms in which patients’ data is stored, as well as issues relating to protocols on access to patients’ records.

There was a clear call to action regarding cultural change in the system. A move away from targets towards transparency and peer review was advocated. A need to highlight and push out to the public NHS success stories was rallied around. The belief in the power of data and technology came across loud and clear.  This agenda is not likely to go anywhere. It has taken root and it’s up to us, as players in a mixed health economy to make sure it develops and spreads.