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July 2, 2018

Review commissioned to assess impact of new technologies on the NHS

An independent review called the Topol Technology Review will assess the impact of new technologies on the training of NHS staff in the UK.

By Charlotte Edwards

An independent review called the Topol Technology Review will assess the impact of new technologies on the training of NHS staff in the UK.

Led by cardiologist, geneticist, and digital medicine researcher Dr Eric Topol and facilitated by Health Education England, the independent review will involve a board of leading experts in genomics, digital medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Health Education England is now calling for evidence.

The review should determine the training needs for existing and future NHS staff to use digital technologies for the better delivery of treatment and patient care. It also aims to increase efficiencies in the healthcare system so that healthcare professionals have more time to spend on individual tasks.

Topol said: “We desperately need innovation in healthcare. AI is already in every aspect of our lives, from navigation to voice recognition, and will now be applied to healthcare, the next frontier.”

University College London (UCL) professor Rachel McKendry will play a key role in the review and is co-chair for the Digital Medicine panel focusing on technologies such as telemedicine, apps, wearables, virtual reality, bio-nanotechnology and point-of-care tests for disease diagnosis.

She said: “With over 1.2 million staff in England, the NHS is one of the five largest employers in the world. It is vital that we train current and future NHS staff to use new technologies, including genomics and point-of-care tests, to diagnose disease much earlier than ever before, and to improve patient care.

“We are launching our interim report, and we welcome input from any individual or organisation with an interest in NHS training and education to contribute their views and experience using digital technologies for health. We are also holding a series of workshops with key stakeholders, including representatives from patient groups and the public.”

The interim report estimates that in May 2018, 24% of patients in England saved time for themselves and their GPs by registering for online services with their family doctor so they could book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view their records, according to NHS England.

UCL professor Dame Anne Johnson, who is also contributing to the review, said: “Digital technologies have the potential to radically change how and where we best diagnose, treat and prevent illness. We need to develop these exciting new ways of providing health services alongside the public and professionals who will use them to improve care and health for everyone.”

Experts wishing to contribute to the review should go to: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/topol-review

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