New report sets out how NHS will need to adapt to technological change

12 February 2019        

Category: BHF Comment


A report launched yesterday sets out the steps the NHS needs to take to prepare staff for the changes innovative technology will bring in the near future. 

The review, led by renowned expert in genetics and digital medicine Dr Eric Topol, outlines how education and training of staff will be key as genomics, digital medicine, robotics and artificial intelligence are set to radically change the way patients are treated by the health service.

The review sets out how technologies will provide quicker diagnosis, as well as providing quicker better treatment – which will then free up healthcare professionals to spend more time caring for patients. 

The review made a series of wide ranging recommendations around preparing the NHS workforce and the health service overall for the change technological innovation will bring in the near future. The review also recommended that a programme be developed that would educate the general public about genomics and digital healthcare.

The Topol Review’s recommendations aim to support the NHS’s upcoming workforce implementation plan, and also the NHS Long Term Plan which was published last month.

Technological advances are already changing way heart and circulatory diseases are treated. Research that was part-funded by the BHF developed a Genomic Risk Score which could identify people at a high risk of a heart attack in adulthood much earlier in the life. Genetic testing is already available on the National Health Service, and its use is set to expand in the coming years.

Our involvement

Our medical director Professor Sir Nilesh Samani was co-chair of the Topol Review’s expert advisory panel on genomics. Commenting on the report, Samani said:

“Genomic medicine, digital approaches and AI are already beginning to transform the nature of diagnosis, management and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases. These game changing technologies will become more widespread in the near future, with significant implications for both healthcare professionals and patients. It is important that NHS staff are given training to adapt to this sea change"

"This report provides several recommendations, which if implemented, will ensure that we have an NHS and a workforce that can best utilise these technologies. A key benefit that we envisage is the "gift of time" where doctors will have more time to spend with patients."

Read the Topol Review