2019 predictions: healthcare

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With five new artificial intelligence medical centres being set up in the UK in 2019, it shows that the healthcare sector is constantly innovating to improve patient experience.

I spoke to Paul Fitzsimmons, Director of Health Insights and Technology at Capgemini, and Daniel Lema, Senior Consultant at Capgemini Invent, to find out what they think will be the key trends in this area this year – here’s what they told me:

Daniel Lema
Daniel Lema

“Following the Health Secretary’s speech at the NHS Conference summit last summer, we will see a fundamental shift in approach to patient treatment, from curative to preventative. A large part of this will stem from the coming together of social prescriptions with typical healthcare. Previously, this has been a significant and an unaddressed barrier to the root causes of illness. In 2019, we anticipate a rise in prescribed social activities ranging from bingo and dancing, all the way through to physio, welfare and transport applications aid, and mental health support groups.

“We will also continue to see increased adoption of robotics, with a focus on back office transformation which will aid in streamlining and automating administrative tasks. As such, it will become a popular way to reduce transactional costs and also increase accuracy through automated and consistent formats (e.g. coding and invoicing that notoriously vary in quality). Robotics also allow for a shared, central service across all organisations rather than repeated across each location, again further reducing costs, for example, chat bots to support out of hours services or online appointments.

Paul Fitzsimmons
Paul Fitzsimmons

“With digital already being integrated into the management of long-term chronic conditions, there will be more focus on the integration of remote care, monitoring and service. Wearables and medical apps will begin to feed more into patient files, especially in cases of chronic conditions. While these will still not serve as deciding factors for a diagnosis, they will help paint a clearer picture of the patient’s ongoing state, and enable them to self-evaluate and treat without needing to come in. In cases where specific patients require more interaction, we’re even seeing GPs and doctors getting in touch through secure social media channels for direct and immediate engagement.” 

Matthew Cooke, Chief Clinical Officer at Capgemini, working part time in the NHS, also shared his perspective:

Matthew Cooke
Matthew Cooke

“The NHS has celebrated its 70th birthday this in 2018. Treatments and diagnostics have massively changed over, but the way we work and the way we monitor patients has changed surprisingly little. Predictive analysis using big data sets gives us many opportunities to work more efficiently but also to prevent acute episodes of health. The Internet of Things opens a world of opportunities for monitoring patients remotely and detecting changes in their long-term condition early, allowing interventions at home rather than being admitted to hospital. But I predict the big challenge for the digital healthcare world will be integrating systems and ensuring that ‘digital is easier’ – only then clinicians will realise the benefits.”

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