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Is healthcare ready for the digital future?

Technology has transformed our lives immeasurably over the last 20 years, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. The recently published Topol review examines how the NHS can prepare clinicians and patients for the digital healthcare innovations of the future, looking in particular at the next 20 years. New technologies and systems are desperately needed to reduce the pressure facing the NHS, so what will the digital future of healthcare look like?

Digital technologies have already transformed most sectors, however, healthcare is only beginning to realise the benefits through the emergence of electronic patient records, virtual primary care, wearables and digital therapeutics. The Topol review posits that all that is set to change, highlighting 10 key areas where digital technologies will have an increased impact on the medical workforce.

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From the Topol review: Top 10 digital healthcare technologies and their projected impact on the NHS workforce from 2020 to 2040

As these technologies become more mainstream we need to consider what this means for the next generation of medical devices and systems. As designers and developers, we need to challenge ourselves to ensure that new products and services address genuine unmet needs and enable coordinated patient centred care to achieve better outcomes.

A digital future for healthcare will need to foster trust, and should enhance and augment the role and function of healthcare professionals rather than replacing human interaction and dehumanising care. Whilst technology can and will enable better outcomes, it’s essential to keep patient and user needs at the forefront of our thinking to ensure the healthcare workforce can do more, better.

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