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NHS must work with industry to harness the power of technology – Dr Mahiben Maruthappu

One of the CEO’s key innovation advisors has said the NHS needs to work more creatively with industry to meet the efficiency challenges facing the healthcare system and improve quality of services.

NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) co-founder, Dr Mahiben Maruthappu, told WIRED health the NHS needs to be more flexible and develop new ways of working with technology companies to capitalise on the opportunities that technology presents healthcare.

WIRED health brought together health professionals with those at the cutting edge of research and tech companies large and small to debate the future of healthcare and the medical industry.

Speaking at the event, Dr Maruthappu said: “The NHS has performed remarkably well over the past 15 years: cancer survival is its highest ever; cardiovascular mortality is down; elective surgical times are down four fold and public satisfaction has almost doubled. But, as we know, the system is under pressure.

We’re exploring new ways of working and partnering with tech companies which focus on value as opposed to just volume.  So if you’ve got a smart watch, which you think could improve diabetes outcomes or a machine learning algorithm, which you think could be helpful triaging patients, we’ll give you the opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.  We’ll allow you, should you deliver certain outcomes, to be reimbursed upon those outcomes.  And i think that pivot from just volume to just value will be instrumental in the coming years, especially given the pressure healthcare systems are currently facing.”

Mahiben explained that an ageing, growing population with more long term conditions coupled with more expensive treatments and technologies has caused the emergence of three gaps: a health and wellbeing gap; a care and quality gap and a finance and efficiency gap.

He reminded the audience that the NHS launched the Five Year Forward View 18 months ago to try and address these issues, entailing a three pronged approach: a radical upgrade in prevention; better integration of care and a focus on efficiency.

He added: “It is within efficiency that I see the key role that innovation will have to play in the next few years.”

Watch Dr Mahiben Maruthappu speaking at WIRED health.

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  1. The ability for the NHS to reimburse medical devices especially telemedicine is almost impossible. Because Medical Devices and diagnostics are not classified as drugs and therefore are difficult to be added into the drug tariff, they become very very difficult to be paid for within the current system. In secondary care, things are not helped by the fact that there are no new OPCS codes going to be created until 2020