ABHI Membership

ABHI at 30 Guest Blogs: The Future of Healthcare is Data

We’re on the cusp of a medical data revolution.

Imagine a future where…

…your GP explains to you that a company specialising in artificial intelligence (AI) and a pharmaceutical company have collaborated to develop a new medication for your condition.

The medication has become available earlier thanks to research breakthroughs inspired by detailed patient medical data such as yours. Through analysis of individuals from similar backgrounds with comparable medical histories, they have synthesised a drug to benefit your exact condition type.

Your doctor programmes and applies a patch to your skin which will administer the bespoke formulation. From this point on, the wearable tech measures the drug’s effectiveness, transmitting data back to your GP and the AI system, allowing them to alter the dosage in real-time via updates forwarded to the patch.

The use of data and technology in this way gives your GP more time to regularly check in on you, helping to maintain the personal relationship so cherished by patient and practitioner alike.

You’re satisfied in the knowledge that the technology meets the highest standards of privacy and cyber security protection. The data generated throughout your treatment can help others with a similar profile as yours reach positive outcome faster and importantly, you have the option to opt out if you prefer. The innovation flourishes with the trust of patients.


Our challenge is to bring this vision of the future, into the present. Seven decades of a national healthcare system means seven decades of data accrued on tens of millions of people throughout the years – but only now has diagnostic technologies matured enough to truly exploit this information goldmine.

Harnessing this data provides extraordinary and unrivalled potential to improve our health system and the direct care of millions of people. In the realms of patient safety and integrated healthcare, I believe the benefits will be transformative.

It’s happening already. A number of care homes across England are utilising electronic care planning systems which use phone-based voice recognition and afford clinical staff comprehensive data about each patient. New technology measures blood coagulation remotely and emails data to health practitioners. Medication and treatment plans can be altered faster, helping to create preventative and adaptable care plans whilst saving time and affording nurses an estimated extra hour per shift to care.

Clearly, the potential of new and existing patient datasets is enormous, not just for direct care but for research purposes too.

The take-up of home healthcare technologies, the interest shown by people in monitoring their own health or exploring their genetic makeup through home genome kits, is a trend we need to leverage.

This momentous shift in public behaviour and the technology advancing to match it, will allow increasingly accurate diagnosis and treatments, through the application of AI in pathology and radiology diagnostics in the NHS.

Indeed, Moorfields Eye Hospital recently hit the headlines with its unveiling of an AI system which reviews patient scans, detecting and proposing treatment referrals for more than 50 distinct eye conditions with a speed and accuracy to rival its human peers.

Cutting edge projects such as the development of Digital Innovation Hubs will see the creation of controlled regional environments, providing expert research data services. Through the hubs, we will develop world leading data analysis and sharing capabilities which will propel evermore cuttingedge innovation in research, technology and treatments.

I want to ensure the NHS is at the forefront of this data revolution. Using data in the right way has the potential to increase efficiencies, drive down costs and free time for better quality, doctor-patient interactions in the NHS. More so, it has the potential to positively impact workplace morale – especially if health and care professionals have more time to support their own wellbeing, not just those receiving their care.

But, we need to come together as partners to achieve this.

To those of you who are interested and enthusiastic about the opportunities patient data brings – I want your ideas, I want you around the table.

Let’s be clear, the data revolution will not dehumanise the health and care sector – quite the opposite. It will make it more human, bespoke and better equipped to tackle disease and disfunction in all its myriad forms. It’s a noble cause and one I am proud to champion – with your help.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP