Paul Kirkpatrick, Chief Digital Officer at BMI Healthcare, talks about his vision of harnessing technology to create the digitally enabled hospital.
With our ageing population and more care demands on the health system, technology is seen by many as the knight in shining armour. Used intelligently, technology in the form of data, wearables, smart infrastructure and mobile will no doubt help to provide a safer more efficient health system and ultimately better care for patients.
That’s why we’re investing so heavily in robust electronic patient data, core infrastructure, bandwidth and technical capability to support new advances in modern healthcare – moving towards the concept of a digitally-enabled hospital. Focusing on technology to improve preventative care and reduce re-admissions will improve society’s wellbeing, while also saving the public health service money. Outside of physical hospital walls, connected devices or other medical equipment used by consumers and pulled together by data and infrastructure could aid in this mission.
BMI is no stranger to new technology. In 2014 Google Glass spectacles were used to livestream a surgical procedure. In 2016, we at BMI Healthcare lead the innovation of ‘Snapchat glasses’ and used them to post snippets of Dr Shafi Ahmed’s surgical procedure for students to access on their mobiles. The intention was to develop the ways we can use cutting-edge technology in relatively low-cost gadgets to teach people everywhere.
2016 also saw Dr Ahmed use a 360-degree camera rig to create a virtual reality (VR) film of an operation which was viewed by 55,000 in 180 countries. VR has a place in training and in providing Consultants with access to other specialists who may be the leaders in niche fields, as well as providing a convenient interface between the Consultant and the patient.
We recognise that our patients, our Consultants and our staff want and expect real-time access to comprehensive records and results which is why all our technology is now ‘mobile first’ in its planning. In the future, I see patients speaking to their Consultants via a video app from their tablet or smart phone, having their initial assessments carried out remotely, being able to track all their patient records from their phone, and having their health data collated through wearable technology and analysed in real time.
The future of digital healthcare is exciting and our aim is to be at the forefront of the technological innovations, helping to improve the experience of our consultants and patients.