Recent developments in digital health – RSM event report

The third successive year’s sellout “Recent developments in digital health” event, hosted by the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London, UK, attracted prestigious speakers from across the NHS, industry and academia and provided delegates with a comprehensive overview of digital healthcare advancements in 2015.

Organised by Dr Andrew Harper, from the Telemedicine & eHealth Section at the RSM, the meeting provided insight into how the NHS is lining up to integrate and deploy digital health technologies to advance patient care.

Attracting senior NHS England members including: Paul Rice, Head of Technology Strategy; Dr Mahiben Marruthappu and Dr Harpreet Sood, Senior Fellows to the Chief Executive, the vision for digital health integration and deployment throughout the NHS was finely characterised and explained to delegates.

These sessions were supplemented by real-world experiences from Dr Dominic King, a surgeon and behavioural economist from Imperial College London and Anne-Marie Ingle, Chief Nurse from Cambridge University Hospitals. Focusing on the benefits and challenges large NHS teaching hospitals experience when deploying digital health technologies, attendees were given a comprehensive map of the challenges and opportunites currently faced within secondary and tertiary care. Furthermore, unique insights into how primary care may be improved was explained by Dr Amir Hannan, a practising GP. Dr Hannan outlined how adjunctive digital health technologies may facilitate improved doctor-patient relationships within hard-to-reach social groups.

Outlining the current commerical opportunities within the digital health market, several presenters delivered their perspectives. The speakers included: Dr Vishal Gulati, Venture Partner and Chairman of DFJ Espirit; Dr Mike Short, vice-president at Telefonica; and Professor Alan Barrell, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Building upon these excellent presentations, there were numerous interdispered examples highlighting how entrepreneurs have leveraged opportunities to provide novel digital health solutions. This included superb sessions from: Dr Ali Parsa, CEO of Babylon health; Bruce Hellman, CEO of uMotif; Elaine Warburton, CEO of QuantuMDx; and Dr Rob Beardall, Chief Medical Officer of NantHealth.

Supporting these exciting presentations were several talks discussing more long-term opportunities. Insights from Professor Marco Viceconti, University of Sheffield, on the creation of a virtual physiological human were supplemented by engaging presentations delivered by Dr David Clifton, Oxford University, on the next generation of tools for health informatics and Professor Kazem Rahimi, Oxford University, on how to integrate digital health technologies to prevent and improve the management of chronic disease.

Overall, the event provided a detailed overview of the current landscape of digital health within the UK. Supplementing highly informative sessions of the NHS’s vision for digital health with examples from current and future commercial opportunities, the event delivered delegates with an overview of the current digital healthcare landscape.

The RSM will shortly be hosting videos of most of the presentations – free to RSM members and for a small charge to non-members – here. This will include a short introduction from Dr Andrew Harper, who wrote the above. (Even before the videos are posted, an exploration of the video resource is highly recommended – for example Dr Rowan Pritchard-Jones’s excellent presentation on how he achieved the first CE certification of a medical app.)

The next RSM event will be Mainstreaming medical apps; reducing NHS costs; improving patient outcomes on 9th April, where there are about ten spaces left. For £50/table, the RSM is also offering SMEs the opportunity to demonstrate their medical apps to the professional audience during refreshment breaks and at lunch (for more information on this offer contact Kiesha or Charlotte on 0207 290 394).

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