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Digital Innovation is Focus at NHS Recovery Summit

The recent NHS Recovery Summit highlighted the ways in which technology is improving patient care in England and helping to cut waiting lists. In a press release, the Department of Health and Social Care gave details about a day of discussions and demonstrations of new digital innovations.


In attendance were senior health and social care ministers, NHS chief executives, clinical leaders and experts from independent health sector organisations. The priority subjects included how technology can provide patients with greater choice and faster access to health care services.


Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “The NHS is a national treasure and it’s important we take the chance to look at its achievements over the last 75 years, take stock of where we are now and look ahead to where we want to be in the future.”


He added: “Today’s summit is about keeping up momentum to recover health and social care services, by bringing together key experts to share knowledge and arrive at solutions to tackle the key challenges facing the NHS and social care, from embracing innovative AI tools to maximising the full potential of the NHS App for patients.”


“I’m focused on improving care for patients through the use of technology to diagnose and treat patients more quickly - delivering on the government’s commitment to cut waiting lists.”


One of the new technologies under the spotlight was DERM AI. This is a diagnostic tool that can be used to assess skin lesions for signs of cancer cells. It has already been rolled out for use within the NHS and has an accuracy rate of 99.7% in predicting benign skin lesions. It is expected that DERM will help to speed up skin cancer treatments.


Skin cancer can grow very quickly and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated, and rates of new cases are increasing in the UK. The new technology will allow the most urgent cases to access treatment faster. In total, the government has invested £123m in new healthcare technology in the last three years.


NHS Providers’ director of strategy and policy, Miriam Deakin, commented: “Although the new technologies have the potential to have a huge impact, their success will be reliant on digital teams getting the funding they need to properly harness the innovations.”


She added: “It will be important too that as new technologies are rolled out, the needs of patients and their families are put front and centre to ensure these new services are trusted by everyone.”


“It is also vital that the opportunities presented by technology in the NHS to transform care for patients and improve access to services is not at the expense of the critical need to invest in core digital and IT infrastructure across the NHS or in developing the skills of NHS and care professionals skills, who will adapt to these new ways of working.”


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