Is the NHS ready to go digital in 2018?

A Chester-based life science team is behind a new campaign – #LetsGetDigital – to get doctors using smart devices in hospitals and surgeries.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt wants a ‘digital NHS’ by 2018. However, according to the National Information Board, in 2014 only 2% of the population had used digital services offered by the NHS.

The Let’s Get Digital campaign aims to start a conversation between everyone involved in digital health ahead of the 2018 digital health switch on.

David Gray, one half of the duo behind the project said: “The healthcare service has the potential to be completely revolutionised by 2018. The problem is there aren’t enough conversations taking place to help doctors take advantage of the opportunity.

Lu Rahman and Dave Gray

Dave Gray and Lu Rahman, the team behind the #LetsGetDigital project

“Our background in the healthcare sector means we have our ears close to the ground and have been listening to what patients and doctors need. Our aim now is to pass on that information and start a conversation between government and individuals so that the digital health switch on is successful.”

The national campaign will give doctors and patients an opportunity to be heard by government, policy-makers and tech giants.

The group’s founders Lu Rahman and David Gray are keen to help government avoid past mistakes.

In 2002 the National Programme for IT was an attempt to digitise the NHS. But at a cost to the taxpayer of £12.4 billion, it was ultimately scrapped in 2011 by the coalition government.

Rahman said: “We have a real chance here to digitise the NHS for the benefit of both patients and doctors. We need to ensure it’s a success this time around and our campaign aims to make this happen.

“Unfortunately about 50% of digital health start-ups in the UK fold within the first two years. The success rate is higher in the US and we know it could be higher here. Let’s Get Digital will help remove the barriers early adopters are facing.

The next stage involves speaking to 13,500 doctors to find out what the barriers may be to digital uptake in the NHS, The team plans to then present its findings to health secretary Jeremy Hunt and life sciences minister George Freeman.


Dave is the Editor of Med-Tech Innovation magazine. He also holds the position of Deputy Group Editor for the Rapid Life Sciences portfolio. You can reach Dave via his email - david.g@rapidnews.com

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