Digital Transformation in Healthcare- Mayor of Witney Duncan Enright’s Viewpoint

Why have many Healthcare providers already gone forward with Digital Transformation and what benefits are they already seeing?

“I’d like to talk about the potential benefits for healthcare actually. I think that’s probably one of the most useful things to do, and it would seem at the moment that most people are trying to sell convenience from the point of view of the citizen, or the patient, or they the person using healthcare and that is a really important one, but actually the potential is to change something which is mass produced – the Henry Ford approach to healthcare in which a service or a system is set out to provide a series of interventions through your life, when you hit periods of ill health. Instead, looking at a patient-centered or person-centered approach to health care, in which your own knowledge about your own health is enriched, that clinicians and others in the health care system have a really good picture of your overall health, and can give you prompts and ideas and guidance in how to manage your health well and during periods of ill health can give you extremely appropriate treatment which matches again your own lifestyle, your own personal attributes. One example which is in the news at the moment is that you can have personalized medicine which matches your genome. It can make a match to your own physiological makeup in a way that was never possible previously, and so, for example, this is being used at the moment to reduce the side effects of things like chemotherapy, but in future things like immunotherapy will also provide some new treatment mechanisms, which again are very much tailored to the individual and can help in in curing or managing long term conditions We may, in fact, in our lifetime begin to see things like cancer as a long-term condition more akin to high blood pressure, than a death sentence, so there are great possibilities.

There are also great possibilities about the way that healthcare is organized so leaders within the National Health Service in the UK are under extreme pressure to manage the performance of their organizations and it’s all about activity measures, and in the future, I think it will be possible to manage an organization looking at outcomes far more, looking at the population health of the people that you’re looking after, and begin to really target resources where you know that they’re going to be most effective in keeping people healthy. That’s a very different approach, but it will only happen if the leaders have a vision: if they understand that their core purpose is to keep people well, not to treat people well when they’re poorly. It also means that they need to reach out across their whole organization and that new skill sets have brought to bear on national health which would include the National Health Service. It is already a major consumer of extremely advanced technology, but it also still uses old stuff. The story goes that they’re still the largest purchasers of fax machines and dictation machine so there’s a long way to go for some parts of the health service. We can see great examples here in Britain, and there are examples elsewhere in the world about how healthcare can change utterly. It can become much more about an individual life, well-lived in good health, with the support of a truly enabled and digitally transformed National Health Service.”