Technology to revolutionise medicine

People may no longer need to visit their doctor for routine consultations within the next 20 years according to research by MedCity, the life sciences promotional agency set up by the Mayor of London 1.


A poll of more than 2,000 people by SMG Insights / YouGov suggests that advances in virtual reality technology will make it possible for people to consult their GP from home when they get ill, rather than travel to a surgery.

Further findings from the poll show that by 2036 the majority of people believe that 3D printers will be used to produce human organs, potentially removing the need for human organ donation, while just under half of those surveyed think the world’s first cloned human will have been born.

The research comes ahead of an event today organised by MedCity, Tech London Advocates and DigitalHealth.London to examine how health-tech innovators can work with the NHS.

Sarah Haywood, Chief Executive of MedCity said: “Technology innovation has real potential to effect change in how healthcare services are provided and consumed. In London and the South-East, the combination of tech, design and healthcare is already taking giant strides in the creation of useable, human-centred devices to improve all our lives. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be to make sure that these advances can be made accessible to all.”

New digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise medice and the provision of healthcare services. Last week by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England said that mobile phone applications and high-tech devices could potentially improve patient care and save the NHS money 2.

But, the development and adoption of new technologies is being hampered by challenges such as the lack of a clear procurement route in the NHS, and difficulty in gaining access to clinicians and patients who can help shape the products.

DigitalHealth.London, a pan-London initiative created to support London as the global capital for digital health, was launched earlier this year by the Life Sciences Minister George Freeman. It is currently recruiting 30 digital health startups to an accelerator programme which will see them work directly with the NHS in London to develop and commercialise their ideas.

Charlie Davie, Managing Director UCLPartners AHSN, and DH.L board member, commented: “We welcome any new initiatives to support the acceleration of digital innovations with the NHS. These technologies have the potential to make a real difference to the way we care for our patients. DigitalHealth.London’s role is to make it easier for new technologies to be adopted into working practice in the NHS.”

Last year, MedTechSouthEast, a partnership between MedCity and the Design Council, ran a competition to find the most exciting new pieces of health technology with a view to bring the products to market. Technologies that were showcased included a glove that steadies the hand of people with Parkinson’s disease, and an easy to use plug socket designed for people with limited grip.

Dr Eliot Forster, Chairman of MedCity and CEO of Immunocore added: “What stands out when you look at entrepreneurs and innovators working around med-tech is the quality and creativity of products that are, more often than not, developed in response to personal experience – whether that’s seeing loved ones struggle with a condition or through working with patients. We need to harness this passion and drive in our work with all stakeholders so that more people can benefit, more cheaply, right across the healthcare sector.”