NHS at 70: How the NHS is welcoming medtech

Head of NHS England Simon Stevens was a recent guest on The One Show to celebrate the organisation’s 70th anniversary and highlight some of latest medtech innovations.

Discussing how the NHS is introducing new technologies to patients, Stevens gave a demonstration of the portable heart monitor, KardiaModible. Stevens spoke about how far medical technology has progressed, using KardiaMobile as an example.

“It used to be the case that these [devices] were the size of a printer or a fax machine, and they cost more than £1,000. And now you just pop them on the back of your mobile phone,” Stevens said.

He went on to state that the devices are “going to be useful for picking up people who’ve got arrhythmias. There are about a million people like that, and with some fairly basic medication we can then prevent thousands of strokes. So that’s being rolled out across the NHS later this year, just one of many examples.”

KardiaMobile is being rolled out across the NHS later this year and could save the organisation around £2 billion by cutting costs related to atrial fibrillation, the most common arrhythmia.

Developed by health technology company AliveCor, the device is around the size of a credit card and is able to record the electrical activity of a person’s heart through their fingertips. The device gives an ECG to the user in less than 30 seconds, allowing people to monitor their heart health and indicate if they have possible atrial fibrillation.

Francis White, vice president of AliveCor spoke about the partnership earlier this year, saying: We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the NHS. Providing our technology to GPs and hospitals around the UK offers a more efficient solution to AF diagnosis and may ultimately improve patient outcomes.”

It’s a great example of how far the NHS has come in adopting technology to help reduce the pressures and costs associated with conditions such as atrial fibrillation. Trusts across the country are now using technology to go paperless, or are engaging on partnerships with digital heath companies to focus on better ways to manage heart disease and COPD.

Just as important however is the change surrounding the use of technology within the NHS. Seeing Simon Stevens advocate the innovations coming out of the medtech and digital health sectors is a hopeful indicator of the way the organisation will continue to progress towards the better use of technology in healthcare.

Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via: reece.armstrong@rapidnews.com

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