Richard Stubbs – Time for a digital health revolution
Richard Stubbs YHAHSN

Richard Stubbs

Richard Stubbs,
Commercial Director
Yorkshire & Humber AHSN

The adoption of health innovation and increased use of technology is vital if the NHS is to create and deliver services fit for the future.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been involved in an exciting range of events and initiatives on these key themes, which have really shown the energy and commitment to respond to patient care challenges.

There is no shortage of great ideas, both in the NHS and in industry but all too often we don’t make it easy for these ideas to be heard or find support so they can reach their potential.

I’m delighted that here at the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network we have launched our ground breaking Innovation Health Exchange Portal. This provides a platform for NHS staff and industry innovators across the Health and Care sector to connect and share innovative solutions, projects and products that support the ambition of providing world class patient care.

The portal will enable innovators to openly showcase products and solutions that can improve patient outcomes and experiences, as well as deliver service efficiencies. It also provides a single entry point into the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN.

Our staff and our patients are the biggest assets of the NHS. We also have a wealth of talent and ideas within the UK’s strong life science industry. To create a sustainable NHS for the future, we need to better harness the expertise in these groups.

Nearly everyone has a great idea to share about how we can improve the care we give. But all too often they have no way of sharing these great ideas. The Health Innovation Exchange is a simple accessible way for us to share what works, create communities with common interests and grow a database of innovation for the benefit of Health and Social Care. It is a product of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and is available for all AHSNs to use.

Last week I chaired the judging panel for the Yorkshire & Humber Digital Health Design Challenge. This was organised through the Connected Healthcare programme initiated and arranged by the Digital Media Centre through Barnsley Council’s Enterprising Barnsley business support programme, in partnership with sponsors Tech North and the AHSN. Teams of digital design specialists and frontline healthcare professionals were invited to compete for a cash award to invest in a new technology product that will improve patient care.

Events like these are very important to harness the ideas of the innovators in our region and it was impressive to see the commitment to co-design and partnership working shown by everyone taking part. The Design Challenge participants showed a real energy and passion for delivering high quality patient-centred solutions.

We are overdue a digital health revolution in the NHS and events such as this help to bring that vision a little bit closer. They help the NHS to explain the challenges that we face and give space to clinicians, technicians, patients and industry experts to work together to design solutions.

We all use digital products in our everyday world, be it banking, gaming, email, online booking and increasingly buying our day to day necessities. We need to ensure that health care delivery keeps pace with the way that the world is changing.

However, we also need to be very aware of the risks involved, particularly for those groups of patients who may be less able or interested in accessing their healthcare through digital innovations. Digital will never and should never replace face to face clinical care that is at the heart of the NHS.