Thursday, June 25, 2009

Leonardo the Inspiration for Robotic Surgery

In the fourth of my posts from the NHS Healthcare Innovation EXPO, I'll share a video I took of a magnificent piece of technology- the Da Vinci surgical robot. Designed so that surgeons could operate remotely on soldiers in the battlefield, the robot is increasingly being used for challenging laproscopic procedures. In this video you can see, briefly, how two surgeons are able to control extremely dextrous instruments in a confined space. At the last count I heard of, there were only a small handful of these robots in use in the UK. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine what might drive an increase in adoption as it is difficult, if not impossible, for a healthcare provider to be reimbursed more for improved outcomes or for carrying out more complex procedures for which there is no tariff.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Virtual Worlds for Healthcare

The NHS Healthcare Innovation EXPO had an excellent demonstration of a Secondlife simulation- sort of the virtual world of healthcare helping to make the real world of healthcare better. Put together by Imperial College London, the Medical Media and Design Laboratory (MMDL) explores how to use digital media in healthcare. Although created to explore new models of care delivery in the widest sense it seems that the Secondlife simulation fulfils a fairly immediate training need.

Fantasmagorical Train Ride

Fantasmagorical Train RideThere I was thinking "Here we go on another commute from Leeds to London", when the onboard WiFi opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities. Suddenly we were on a magical mystery tour where "No map contains our current position". Just as I was holding out for our arrival at Narnia, The Garden of Eden or Atlantis, we pulled into Kings Cross. Disappointing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Shortage of help in NHS Innovation

We all know that the economic situation is going to make the public purse smaller (in absolute or real terms- depending on who you believe) over the coming years so it makes sense that the NHS looks to innovation to improve the value of healthcare service delivery. It should therefore be little surprise that healthcare is burgeoning with organisations and talented people to help those with good ideas bring them to fruition. I've spent much of today meeting with these organisations to understand what's hot and what's not in healthcare innovation and will be posting on them in due course.

Many thanks to Brian Winn, Marie Maher and Dr Nigel Sansom of the NHS National Innovation Centre and Dr Peter Blenkinsop of NHS Innovations for taking the time to explain their organisations roles. They have some exciting projects going on. I'm not sure I have absolute clarity yet of how it all works because there are other organisations in play and, as you can imagine, there is much history in "idea generation" in the NHS which has created pockets of capability which is now being joined up. For example, on just one lap of the exhibition hall, you could see stands for NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, NHS National Innovation Centre, NHS Innovations, NHS National Institute for Health Research, NHS Improvement and NHS Technology Adoption Centre... and this excludes CfH, direct involvement from the Department of Health and occasional engagement with the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency. Perhaps a more consolidated structure would be more effective?

Posting from the NHS Healthcare Innovation EXPO

I'm typing this post from the very glamorous NHS Healthcare Innovation EXPO 2009 at ExCeL in London. I'm not sure why EXPO is all uppercase, but I am sure that it is by design because this is a slick looking event in terms of marketing, the presentation of the venue, the stands and the supporting materials. It's the beginning of the day, with a Director of NASA kicking things off right now and luminaries to follow such as Prof. Lord Darzi and Martha Lane-Fox (the Government's new Digital Champion). I can only hope that the content of the EXPO lives up to the quality of the event. The big question for me is whether what is clearly a substantial amount of taxpayer money being driven into healthcare innovation is delivering results? Let's hope I'm not disappointed.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Sustainability is not just about being green

The evidence that our planet is undergoing major climate change is all around us, but whether or not you accept that is irrelevent (yes, and possibly parochial). Sustainability is a word often attached to the "green lobby" but actually, it has far wider connotations and there are few excuses to be cynical. I thought that this video about our changing world illustrates the point really well.

Watch the video and then consider how these trends, which are beyond any one of us to change or escape, will affect your business. This is also what sustainability is about. Further, all these extra babies will be needing energy and resources too. In fact sustainability is not just about how much pain can you tolerate, or how can you dodge the bullets- there is opportunity in change for the smart and agile.