Blog

Healthcare innovation

Graham Watson: Healthcare innovators must focus on…

Graham Watson: Healthcare innovators must focus on…

TECH is growing at all levels of society, with a projected 75 billion connected devices set to be in the world by 2025.

There are few greater areas where this is taking place than in healthcare, but despite the well-earned plaudits the field is getting for its game-changing impact, there is unfortunately a significant downside.

That is the ability to access and future proof these new technologies for the ever-growing older population, with successive generations in danger of being cut off.

Today’s generation can quickly become tomorrow’s tech luddites.

It is a very real concern, with recent stats from the UK Consumer Digital Index, showing that 11.9 million people in the UK already lack the basic skills to use the internet effectively.

The same consumer index also showed that 20.5 million people in the UK have low digital engagement.

So, the rise of tech is a concern to these people who will have to increasingly lean on it more as the health service transitions into further embracing new methods such as remote patient monitoring and ‘Near Me’ appointments.

These services, although great at taking the strain away from GPs and hospitals, could be just the start of a growing disconnect.

That is why an ongoing focus, perhaps supplemented by regulation, on inclusive innovation is needed in the tech field to ensure we do not lose a generation of patients.

At InnoScot Health, we work in partnership with NHS Scotland to identify, protect, develop, and commercialise healthcare innovations to improve patient care.

Our current Frailty Innovation Call is especially relevant to this issue, as we are seeking ideas from health and social care professionals that can help transform the quality of life.

Ideas may range from wearable tech that could predict falls, assistive technology to make daily life easier, or a device or tool to help people self-manage their condition.

All of these have the potential to be lifesaving but only if inclusion is at the forefront of the creative process.

It has to be easy for every patient to navigate – that is why it is key that end users are consulted during the design process.

However, it is not just patients that need aid with new tech. According to NHS Digital, many health and social care professionals lack the confidence or skills to use digital health tools themselves and therefore are not recommending the services to their patients.

Proper training from digital champions can be a worthwhile tool to overcome this fear and ensure that both NHS staff and patients are getting access to the right tech for them.

Of course, tech has vast benefits, but we need to continue to promote inclusion at its forefront to ensure that all patients can remain able to tap into its limitless potential.

Executive Chair of InnoScot Health Graham Watson

Source