Digital Health and Care Task Force

Digital Health and Care Task Force

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Digital healthcare and healthy living is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. In the UK, digital technology has transformed consumer-led industries including food and manufacturing, however it has limited impact on the delivery of healthcare. Nye Bevan would recognise current patient experience in the NHS and, unless there is urgent and radical change in the delivery of healthcare in the UK, the NHS is in danger of collapsing under pressures of ageing, mental illness, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The UK’s record of producing world-leading healthcare businesses may be fatally undermined, and the potential to create globally pioneering digital health companies impeded, unless the implementation challenges of digital technology and its adoption at scale within the NHS is tackled head on.

Evidence has suggested that the UK does not lack innovation in many areas of potently transformative medical technology; it lacks however the ability to adopt disseminate this technology at scale, and at the heart of this challenge is the mobilisation of the digitally aware and educated workforce. As part of its long-running programme of growing business-university collaboration, the National Centre for Universities and Business has launched a top level Task Force to review and make recommendations on the innovation and graduate skills necessary to strengthen the UK’s position.

Co chairs

John Jeans
Chairman, EM Imaging; Chairman, Digital Health and Care Institute; Adviser to the Prime Minister, Medical Technologies.

john jeans

John is Chairman at EM Imaging and at UK Biocentre as well as being Non-Executive Director at ProMetic Pharma SMT Ltd. Prior to this, he was Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of MRC. His career in the international healthcare industry spans a number of companies including Smith & Nephew, Bristol Myers, Johnson & Johnson and Amersham plc. Mr. Jeans’ experience ranges from medical devices and pharmaceuticals to in vivo and in vitro diagnostics encompassing research, product development, manufacturing and commercialisation. He has served on various Government and clinical bodies, including the Co-Chairmanship of a Ministerial Committee on Medical Technologies.

Beverley Bryant
Chief Operating Officer of SystemC & formerly NHS England

Beverley Bryant

As Director of Digital Transformation at NHS Digital, Beverley was responsible for the strategic direction for technology, as well as driving the Paperless 2020 agenda. Previously, as Director of Digital Technology for NHS England, Beverley was responsible for delivering transformational NHS England commitments, including Local Digital Roadmaps and Digital Maturity, NHS E-referrals, Patient Online and Electronic Prescriptions, setting the national direction for technology and innovation across the NHS. Beverley has undertaken performance improvement and operational roles in big-five consulting companies, as well as leadership roles in the Department of Health. Graduating from Sheffield University with a degree in Japanese, Beverley has over 15 years’ experience of leading IT-enabled change, business and systems analysis, and technical design authority.

You can read Beverley's blog 'Why Digital Games for Mental Health' here

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Chairman, Cancer Research UK; former Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

Professor Borysiewicz is Chairman of Cancer Research UK and has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge since 2010, a position he will step down from in September 2017. He was Chief Executive of the UK's Medical Research Council from 2007, and from 2001 to 2007 was at Imperial College London, where he served as Principal of the Faculty of Medicine and later as Deputy Rector. Professor Borysiewicz was knighted in the 2001 New Year's Honours List for his contribution to medical education and research into developing vaccines, including work towards a vaccine to combat cervical cancer.



First Report: More than a game? Digital gaming therapies and mental health in young people

The Taskforce decided collectively to focus the initial report on mental health, particularly within young adults, to gain a better understanding into the growing epidemic, but to also establish an understanding on the innovation, skill and challenges associated with implementing new technologies. Through Roundtable meetings, workshops and design jams, the taskforce was able to make key recommendation for the improvement of digital skills and capacity building in the UK. See who was involved - view the Steering Group

Professor David E Neal CBE, Senior Vice President, Global Research (Academic) Research Networks, Elsevier B.V: “Elsevier strongly supports the UK Industrial Strategy to develop and the research potential of academia in partnership with the commercial sector to benefit patients, researchers and the economy. Elsevier recognises the major impact that mental health has on people and on the UK economy; we were delighted to use our analytic capabilities to highlight the excellence of UK academia and industry in the area of those digital games which might help to alleviate some of this burden.” 

Alex Barclay, Head of Studio, Big Radical: “This was a remarkable project. It proves that new, multi-lateral methods deliver great insight and new, high quality health and wellbeing experiences quickly and in a less costly way than other approaches. However, there is still much work to be done. We need to unblock how new ideas are taken to market in a way that enables the delivery of health upsides to a range of users (young people, health care professionals, support organisations and other carers) at scale. This report underlines some of these challenges, as well as suggesting more opportunities for digital technology and games to play a positive role in the support of the delivery of desirable mental health outcomes.”

Download the first report: More than a game? Digital gaming therapies and mental health in young people // Download the poster.


Final report: The Human Factor: Driving Digital Solutions for 21st Century Health and Care

report digital healthTo recommend more effective implementation and commercial success in the UK, the National Centre for Universities and Business assembled a Task Force of more than 50 experts from business, universities, research councils, consultancies, public and commercial health and social care providers, policy makers and patient groups. This team explored ways in which universities, industry, public and private health and care providers, government, patients and users can successfully partner to deliver the changes necessary for 21st century healthcare. In this, our final report, we focus on the human factors in bringing about transformational change through digital technology.

Key recommendations:

  1. Establish a national Campaign for Digital Health and Care Skills.
  2. User-centred design must be at the heart of digital health and care.
  3. The skills challenge needs scaled-up solutions and rapid take-up.
  4. Create an environment where sharing data is as vital as protecting it.
  5. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and National Institute for Health Research to work together on multi-disciplinary research programmes on digital health and care.
  6. We strongly recommend that UKRI and universities establish well-funded mechanisms for continued and integrated innovation in digital health and social care, and translation into business.
  7. Health and social care are marked by a lack of risk-taking – and risk-takers – in procurement.
  8. Government departments responsible for health and social care, should work with
  9. universities, NHS and Innovate UK to collaborate with interactive media and games trade associations, such as TIGA and Ukie, to establish a standing network of therapeutic specialists and commercial developers.
  10. Guided by good systems and user-design, the NHS and care system should review approaches to risk and create more room for agility.

Download the full report here.

Read more in blogs

Working together to make the possible probable - by Anna Mankee-Williams

Why do so many technology projects in healthcare fail? - by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh

Digital games for mental health - by Co-Chair Beverley Bryant


Other relevant articles:

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