Highlights this month include: TechUK has published a report to promote the adoption of digital technology in the social care sector; EFPIA has outlined how its members are engaged in efforts to rise to the challenge posed by climate change; new government investment to improve healthcare research, and a new centre has been created to work on developing new life-saving vaccines.
Healthcare Hot Topics – September 2023
Welcome to our monthly healthcare update with all the latest developments you need to know about
The association techUK has published a plan to promote the development of digital technology in the social care sector. The report is titled The Five Point Plan for CareTech, and has been written in response to the view that social care has been slower to adopt digital solutions than other sectors. It picks up on elements of the Hewitt Review on the priorities for integrated care systems (ICSs), including the recommendation for citizen health accounts. These would require health and care providers to publish relevant data on an individual into an account owned and operated by the person. techUK says these would lead to more effective care, and while it is a big ambition they are already emerging in pockets, and that Government should support their roll out on a national scale. There should also be an effort to encourage collaboration between public and private sectors in producing technology for care.
Elsevier Health has published a new paper, titled The Clinician of the Future 2023. The report has found that almost half of all doctors and nurses are keen for physicians to make use of generative AI platforms to support their clinical decision-making in the future. The new report covers the experiences and views of more than two thousand doctors and nurses, from over 100 countries worldwide. Elsevier’s research uncovered outcomes which have been summarised into four key themes in the report: clinician attitudes to AI; clinician shortages, which overshadow the transformation of future care; addressing clinician and student training, as part of future proofing for tomorrow; and finally, empowering patients helping to drive transformation.
The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has published a White Paper on Climate Change. The report outlines how its member companies are engaged in efforts to rise to the challenges posed by the climate crisis. Companies are setting renewable energy targets, reducing greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions, and changing the way they work to optimise the use of recycling and waste systems. Specific projects include, Bayer’s Application of Green Chemistry metrics to improve the ecological footprint of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in their manufacturing, Roche’s Lighthouse programme which aims to use fully sustainable electricity by 2025, and Teva’s sustainable procurement programme, ensuring their suppliers are also engaged in initiatives to reduce emissions.
Ravideep Singh was recently interviewed regarding the challenges the healthcare industry faces due to the growing demand for sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Mr Singh is the associate director at Creative Designer Architects, an architectural practice that is an established design leader in healthcare projects. The pandemic highlighted the urgency to build high-quality infrastructure. In the interview, he discusses how intelligent hospital buildings can help significantly to optimise high energy usage via smart sensors. These employ natural attributes of daylight, temperature, humidity and air quality to curate the most conducive healing environment for patients, while reducing dependence on mechanical systems and reducing carbon footprint.
The Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan has announced a £13 million investment to improve healthcare research. The Technology Secretary visited University College London (UCL) to announce that the investment will be channelled into research that will deliver Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation in healthcare, with 22 university and NHS trust projects set to receive a share. The money will support projects, such as the development of a semi-autonomous surgical robotics platform for the removal of tumours, and helping to predict the likelihood of a person’s future health problems based on their existing conditions. At the same time, two experts have been appointed to lead preparations for the UK to host the first major international summit of its kind on the safe use of AI. Matt Clifford, CEO of Entrepreneur First and Chair of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, and Jonathan Black, Heywood Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, will be responsible for leading AI nations, companies and experts, ahead of the event in the UK this autumn. Final dates are to be confirmed shortly.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has unveiled the Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC). The centre will work on developing life-saving new vaccines for the UK and worldwide. The creation of the centre, based at Porton Down, is a major part of UKHSA’s 3 year strategy and incorporates over 200 leading scientists working on around 100 wide-ranging projects, including tackling deadly pathogens with pandemic potential. Its work involves supporting the development of new vaccines by testing and evaluating them against threats capable of causing a health emergency. In particular, the centre will target pathogens for which a vaccine does not exist or is not regulated in the UK, or could be improved, such as avian influenza, mpox (monkeypox) or hantavirus, a severe infection that can pass from rodents to humans.