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Monday 11 February 2019

Topol Review calls for improvement in digital skills

Topol Review coverThe Topol Review: Preparing the Healthcare Workforce to Deliver the Digital Future has been published today. It concludes there will be a fundamental shift in the balance of skills in the NHS workforce over the next two decades. However, it suggests digital healthcare technologies will not replace healthcare professionals, but augment them.

The Review was commissioned by Jeremy Hunt, former-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in April 2018 to look at opportunities for genomics, digital medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in the NHS and the impact on its workforce. It was led by Dr Eric Topol an expert in cardiology, genetics and digital medicine and the founder and director of Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California.

The Review says, within 20 years, 90% of all jobs in the NHS will require some element of digital skills and suggests that all staff will need digital and genomics literacy. Ensuring staff are making the most of their skills and expertise forms a critical component of the NHS Long Term Plan—you can read more here: NHS Long Term Plan: What does it mean for tech? The Review highlights the need to tackle differences in digital literacy that currently exist across the NHS and build the expertise to evaluate new technologies. As TechMarketView discussed in Public Sector Predictions 2019, the Review also highlights the need for the NHS to collaborate with academia and industry to address the skills gap.

Artificial intelligence will enhance the skills of NHS staff according to the Review, but it calls on the NHS to invest in developing the requisite skills to consider data provenance, governance, algorithmic bias and ethical implications. (See: UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts 2018 for further discussion.)

The Review concludes that a culture of innovation, an agile and empowered workforce, digitally capable leadership, and effective governance, supported by long-term investment will be required if the UK wants to fulfil its ambition of becoming a world leader in healthcare technology. It goes without saying, this is much easier said than done—there are many more fundamental problems facing the NHS, including the ongoing workforce shortage, which were only partially addressed in the Long Term Plan.

Posted by Dale Peters at '10:17' - Tagged: healthcare   policy   government   digital   AI   genomics  

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