UK HealthTech Advisory Board members announced

The newly-created board will be chaired by Dr Ben Goldacre, Evidence-Based Medicine DataLab Director at the University of Oxford.
By Leontina Postelnicu
08:59 AM
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The UK’s HealthTech Advisory Board, created to help guide the government and look at transforming the use of technology across the NHS, will meet for the first time today, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock vowed to "sort out" the IT infrastructure of the NHS earlier this year, calling it “the world’s most frustrating place to work for its IT”, with “only 10 per cent of the challenge" being the technology. 

“Ninety per cent of the challenge is the culture,” he said.

The new initiative will bring together clinicians, academics and tech experts to explore and support efforts to harness innovation and reduce pressures on the system.

“It will highlight where change needs to happen, where best practice isn’t being followed, and be an ideas hub for how we transform the NHS to improve patient outcomes, patient experience, and to make the lives of NHS staff easier," Hancock added.

The board will be chaired by Dr Ben Goldacre, Evidence-Based Medicine DataLab Director at the University of Oxford, and members include NHS Digital Academy CEO and Director of Digital at the Salford Royal Group Rachel Dunscombe and Nicola Blackwood, Chair of the Human Tissue Authority and former Health Minister.

Roger Taylor, who was appointed as Chair of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation back in June, will also be joining them, along with:

  • Nicole Junkermann, NJF Holdings Founder
  • Manoj Badale, Blenheim Chalcot Co-Founder
  • David Gann, Imperial College London Professor of Innovation and Technology Management
  • Sir Mark Walport, UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive
  • Daniel Korski, PUBLIC CEO and Co-Founder
  • Michelle Brennan, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies Group Chair
  • Dan Sheldon, Well Pharmacy Head of Digital
  • Jeni Tennison, Open Data Institute CEO
  • Parker Moss, F-Prime and Eight Roads Entrepreneur in Residence.

“To make the changes that are needed we must work together and have a common vision. We need to couple this with an agile culture where we constantly improve systems and champion the innovators," Hancock said at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester in September.

“The culture change we need to see requires strong management and leadership. I’m determined to grow stronger leadership across the NHS. We should train more of our own, yes, and bring in more talent from the outside too who know how to inspire change.”

In October, an initial digital, data and technology strategy was published by the DHSC, outlining plans to modernise the NHS IT infrastructure and introduce a clear set of open standards that all digital services and IT systems in the NHS would have to meet. 

Asked how he would measure the success of innovation being embedded into the NHS at the GovTech summit in Paris last week, Hancock said: "When I'm no longer the world's largest owner of fax machines."

Freedom of Information requests submitted by the UK's Royal College of Surgeons earlier this year indicated that NHS hospitals trusts in England owned more than 8,000 fax machines, and a report from DeepMind Health's independent reviewers panel from 2017 said the health service retained "the dubious title of being the world’s largest purchaser of fax machines".

At the GovTech summit, Hancock added:

"I want to see an improvement in the outcomes of government services and, so, I try to resist what is a pressure that all politicians come under, which is to give very fixed and specific targets, because (...) there may be even better technology that comes along that I might discover at this conference that we've never heard of before."

Twitter: @1Leontina
Contact the author: lpostelnicu@himss.org