Thursday, January 28, 2016

Technology should be improving the delivery of healthcare to older people. It isn't.

Let's start with the good news. According to the article by the King's Fund there are eight technologies that will change the delivery of health and care. This report is typical of its genre. Most of the content is devoted to listing the tech goodies and describing how (theoretically) they could be game changers in the process and cost of delivering health services and care to older people. 

As usual the article includes a plea for 'more research' and a warning that the benefits bestowed by technology must not be limited to those with the finances and intelligence to acquire and use the technology. No explanation is given of how this might be achieved.

Now for the bad news that is eloquently presented in the article 'Health and tech innovations do little for baby boomers'. The article is based on the situation in US situation but applies equally to the UK and most of Europe.

As I see it we are at the stage of having discovered all of these brand spanking new tech gizmo's and feel sure that if we can package them up their benefits and appeal will be self evident. If only life was that simple. 

Until we stop being obsessed by the smartness of the technology and more interested in how you construct a package of benefits that delivers, is scalable, reliable and can easily be purchased then we are in for a lot of disappointment. 

As I have said zillions of times before - the biggest block to innovation in the UK is the NHS, that operates in an IT era more aligned to punch cards than smartphones. Sure, there are going to be exciting small scale experiments but for all the ballyhoo we are still at the starting line in utilising technology in the healthcare industry to help older people. Dick Stroud

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