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Emerging Tech in Healthcare

28 July 2018

The final event of the ‘Emerging Tech’ series organised by The Great of the Exhibition of the North took place on Thursday 26 July at the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead. The event focused on the future of healthcare now that we have an increasingly ageing workforce and how we need to continue to embed new technologies to speed up productivity and preserve valuable skills. The event aimed to explore challenges and opportunities that come with increased tech adaption and the use of tech-based solutions.

The first speaker we heard from was Graham Armitage from the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA). Graham addressed that our ageing population is a major driver for change and that data and digital tools have a huge potential to address these challenges. Technology is now a part of our everyday life and we need to consider how this can be implemented in ways to improve efficiency within the sector.

We then heard from Katie Gilmartin from The Home Group and her work with ‘Adapting with Age’ (part of the National Housing Federation, Greenhouse) a programme all about bringing change to improve people’s lives as they age. Katie expressed that in the past the housing sector has struggled with innovation and this programme aims to tackle this to ensure that people are living well and not just living long. Katie mentioned that technology is primarily developed for younger generations or “younger olders” as they have coined and more technology especially within healthcare needs to be developed with the ageing population in mind. The ‘Adapting with Age’ programme is on the look out for user-design led solutions to allow people to live well in their homes.

Moving on, we had the chance to hear from Chris Gibbons from Accenture and what they are doing to help make healthcare an attractive place to work. Chris highlighted the emerging technologies that will create the most change. These will be:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
2. Blockchain Technology
3. Quantum Computing
4. The Internet of Things (IOT)
5. Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR)

Chris stated that within healthcare and through the use of technology patients need to be given more control over their data. Allowing patients to become more empowered would increase proactivity within the healthcare sector as there would be an increased amount of awareness and identification. Chris also presented that communication within the healthcare space needs to be enhanced – if you travel, have a busy lifestyle or are perhaps immobile there needs to be more effective solutions to communicate with your GP. Chris also suggested other devices such as technological sensors would help provide earlier diagnostics and again increase proactivity.

We also heard from both Elaine Hall and Becky Eskandari of Podfo who are one of Horizon Works clients. They talked about how they have already demonstrated huge technological innovation within the healthcare sector through the production of the bespoke, biometric insole, Podfo. Podfo has already proven to have changed lives, its bespoke nature improves comfort, enhances performance and corrects foot control while supporting the natural movement of the foot.

One of the final speakers was Shantelle Million from Micareplan who has developed an innovative digital alternative to documentation in care. Shantelle created a system to aid and empower care assistants. Shantelle has designed a system that provides care staff with the information they need at the point of delivery of care without the need of unnecessary paperwork. The system allows care assistants to view handover notes, which medication has been provided to which patients, whether they have had visitors and so on. This is an easy place for workers to see all the information they need in one place and eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed in such an important and responsible role. Additionally, to now be graded an outstanding by Ofsted, care homes need to demonstrate that they have been innovative with technology.

The event concluded with a panel discussion of all the speakers involved. A main point of discussion focused on the notion that we need to educate people to not fear technology and instead embrace it. This could be said in relation to technology being used instead of social interaction and a balance needs to be found between the two. Overall, technology has the potential to do amazing things for the healthcare sector to improve communication, efficiency and proactivity.

You can find out more about the ‘Emerging Tech’ series hosted by The Great Exhibition of the North and what it consisted of HERE.

To read more about the exhibition itself click HERE.

The event concluded with a panel discussion of all the speakers involved. A main point of discussion focused on the notion that we need to educate people to not fear technology and instead embrace it. This could be said in relation to technology being used instead of social interaction and a balance needs to be found between the two. Overall, technology has the potential to do amazing things for the healthcare sector to improve communication, efficiency and proactivity.

panel, healthcare, discussion

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