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It’s been a big week for tech – this week’s Friday Five

Our tech week continues…

90% of all NHS jobs predicted to require digital skills within 20 years

This week Dr Eric Topol published his report into the future of technology in the NHS, which called for the development of a digitally ready workforce.

Robots, artificial intelligence and smart speakers will ease the burden on doctors and give them more time with patients, according to an NHS report on the pending technological “revolution” in healthcare.

The authors conclude: “Our review of the evidence leads us to suggest that these technologies will not replace healthcare professionals, but will enhance them … giving them more time to care for patients.”

Read more from the Guardian.


AI eavesdropping on mental health patients

“Hey Siri, I’m feeling s***…” Not a statement you thought you’d ever hear people say to their smart speaker, but that is exactly what The Topol Review has called for.

The report is pushing for mental health trusts to build on the online programmes available to mental health patients to aid recovery, and embrace robots and artificial intelligence to spot patients in danger of self harm.

Surprisingly, Facebook has been screening users posts for suicidal thoughts since 2017 and similar technology can now pick up worrying phrases that are spoken out loud.

Read more from the Telegraph.


GPs in England to start communicating via email with patients

Matt Hancock has revealed he would like email to become the default option for GP and patient communication by 2021.

This follows Hancock’s campaign last year to #AxeTheFax, but research shows there are still more than 8,000 fax machines being used in the NHS.

“Having to deal with outdated technology is hugely frustrating for staff and patients alike – and in many cases, downright dangerous.”, Hancock said, “A letter lost in the post could be the difference between life and death.”

Read more from BBC.


It’s not all about tech though

A&E performance at lowest levels for 15 years

NHS performance against the four-hour accident and emergency target hit a record low in January.

Data published in NHS England revealed overall A&E performance was 84.4% which is not hitting the current target of 95%.

Royal College of Emergency Medicine president Taj Hassan said: “These figures make clear the true scale of this crisis facing our systems. Despite a relatively mild winter, with lower rates of norovirus, nearly one in four people are waiting over four hours and nearly a third of all attendances require admission; the need for more beds could not be clearer.”

Read more from the HSJ.


Know your cholesterol like you know your Pin code

People are being encouraged to know their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers as well as they know their bank Pin code – because it could save their life.

These numbers flag up early signs of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: “We know our Pin numbers but not the numbers that save our lives.

“Thousands of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by more people knowing their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and by seeking help early.”

Read more on the BBC.


Quote of the week

“My consultation was a worrisome reminder that medicine is more than an analytic exercise in diagnosis and prescription, it’s an art”.

This week, Lienkie Diedericks, researcher and PhD candidate at King’s College London, addressed his concerns, in The Guardian, surrounding healthcare technology. He suggests that a purely digital approach may not be enough and sometimes seeing your doctor face to face is a necessity. Studies suggest that the quality, duration and frequency of interaction between doctor and patient as well as the doctor’s openness to patients’ questions all affect how the patient will follow whatever they’ve been advised.

Read more from the Guardian.

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