The newly-appointed Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, has identified technology as one of his early priorities. This commitment is tremendously significant. As Mr Hancock rightly pointed out, health has long lagged behind other industries in its adoption of tech, and it’s been seen as adding increased cost to an already cash-conscious service.
I was particularly taken with his message: “Only in health and care has new technology always seemed to lead to inexorably higher costs. In every other area of life, innovation reduces waste and drives costs down not up.” Barriers seem to keep appearing, and the way to push technology forward is not to curb it and measure it only by its limitations, but to keep improving it, and change the rules so we can harness new technology in a way that works for everyone.
And this is what we are trying to do at Teva. Take virtual reality – or VR – as an example. It allows for experiences that were not possible a few short years ago. One of our aims is to leverage VR to help explore mechanisms of action in a new and engaging way: one example is to help healthcare professionals step into their patients’ shoes and really experience what it’s like to suffer from a particular condition.
For example, we can use VR to help clinicians experience what it is like to have the blurred vision or auras that often accompany a chronic migraine, or use haptic gloves that mimic the hand shaking often experienced by patients with Huntington’s disease.
Technological advances are beginning to transform the healthcare industry – and are competing for healthcare professionals’ time with the increased optimisation of their time.
We’ve listened to you and have heard loud and clear that the ideal outcome is technological interventions that enable you to maximise the time you have with your patients. With this in mind, we developed the Virtual Ambassador. Our Virtual Ambassadors leverage digital channels like social or virtual meetings to get you the information you want, when you want it without you having to step out of your daily work flow. We have launched this service in the UK in support of some severe asthma clinics/specialists and have received great feedback.
If you’d like to know more, head over to the HealthTech Zone to find out how these and other digital innovations are transforming health and care in an evolving NHS and how innovation can deliver improved outcomes, transform workloads and support sustainability.