2019 predictions: UK digital health leaders on what lies ahead


As we welcome a new year, it is custom to look ahead to what the key themes will be in 2019 in the world of health technology.

We asked a number of leading figures from the sector to give their thoughts on what they think will be big this year.

Will Smart, national CIO for Health and Care

“I predict England will have its first HIMSS7 Acute Hospitals, demonstrating that NHS secondary care organisations can deliver high quality technology and we’ll continue to make progress with Local Health and Care Record Exemplars.

“Informatics will have an increasingly important voice at board level rights across the NHS, as technology is recognised as a key tool to deliver real transformation across all parts of the system, delivering real benefits to patients.”

Simon Eccles, national CCIO for Health and Care

“I believe we’ll see a renewed vigour in digital health technology and I hope an end to the acceptance of ‘not-good-enough’ tech in the NHS, with NHS Boards across the country taking action to support their staff with good technology.

“2019 will see the launch of the first NHS Interoperability Standards, with clear timescales for their adoption, and we’ll see the NHS App being taken up which will start to show us the true potential of the empowered consumer in health.”

Professor Maureen Baker, chair of the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB)

“Implementing PRSB’s suites of transfer of care and integrated care standards will be a key priority in 2019, supporting the Secretary of State’s vision for digital, data and technology and NHS England’s long-term plan for health and social care.

“Activating clinical leadership is critical to success, and the PRSB is working closely with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and its members to drive this forward. People who use services can create a strong pull for adopting standards which could be equally powerful in 2019.

“That’s why we have an emerging leadership programme for patients and citizens, putting them at the heart of standards development. Also local health and care records will be early adopters, demonstrating the benefits and addressing the challenges of creating standardised shared care records.”

Ewan Davis, chief executive of inidus

“Progress with interoperability will slow as vested interests and the sheer difficulty of making it work swamp efforts to get beyond the first few use cases and there will be growing recognition that we need a different approach to create the data fluidly we need.

“As the SEC tighten up on ICOs the blockchain in health bubble will burst and we can get on with exploring what blockchains can really do for digital healthcare.

“Attempts to progress with big data will continue to founder on the rocks of privacy and confidentiality until we realise ‘data is there for the asking, not the taking’ and that the only basis for data sharing should be informed consent.

“The AI community will discover just how poor the quality of medical records is and all the work they will need to do to improve data quality and ensure incomplete and poor quality data doesn’t lead to erroneous conclusions.”

You can hear more, not just from our contributors but other leading health technology figures, at Digital Health Rewired on March 25-26.

The event, taking place at London Olympia, is a two-day conference and one-day exhibition which connects health IT leaders and professionals with the latest disruptive digital health innovations.

Make sure you have booked your place today.

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