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NHS digital head: Innovating UK’s healthcare is challenging, but worthwhile (mobi health news)

  • Sam Shah, the NHS Director of Digital Development, explained several barriers to innovation that the NHS is facing, including the complexity of the current system, the UK’s regulations and technology standards, as well as cultural barriers amongst management, providers, administrators, and patients.
  • The NHS’ ecosystem is made up of more than 15,000 organisations, over 206 hospitals and 7,500 primary care providers spread out across England, and therefore has a highly disparate infrastructure.
  • The NHS receives funding of nearly £130bn per year, but operates at 97%+ capacity which has lead to a focus on incremental change (i.e. small process improvements), rather than reinventing healthcare. Steps taken to change this culture includes the NHS Digital Academy, a training program to generate digital leaders.

Analysis & Comments

  • The NHS released its long-term plan in January earlier this year which lines out a set of ambitious patient-facing goals – most of which are underpinned by digital technology, e.g. going paperless and becoming ‘fully digitised’ by 2024.
  • The new NHS app is meant to act as a gateway for people to access services as well as information and by 2020/21, people will be able to use it to access their care plan and communications from health professionals.
  • Notably, the plan also outlines the new ‘right’ to access digital primary care services (e.g. telemedical consultations) via their existing practice or one of the emerging telemedicine (digital-first) providers by 2024.

Ping An Good Doctor launches One-Minute Clinic at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (mobi health news)

  • Ping An Good Doctor, China’s one-stop healthcare ecosystem platform, has launched yet another of its One-minute Clinics which combine “AI Doctor” technology with its c. 1,000+ internal medical team and c. 5,000 contracted doctors to provide users with healthcare services including medical advice, rehabilitation guidance, and drug taking advice.
  • Every station stores more than 100 categories of cryogenically refrigerated common drugs and provides an app-enabled one-hour drug delivery service by nearby pharmacies for drugs it does not have in store.
  • The company launched c. 1,000 units of these clinics across 8 provinces and cities in January 2019, providing self-service and healthcare services to more than 3m users, with plans to launch more clinics in more public areas such as malls, airports, and train stations.

Analysis & Comments

  • The Chinese healthcare system is struggling with a number of issues, in particular underfunding, understaffing and uneven distribution of access. These challenges create an opportunity for telemedicine to help alleviate some of the strains on the Chinese healthcare system through the better allocation of medical resources.
  • In 2014 China issued legal guidelines for telemedicine for the first time including definitions, requirements of medical institutions and implementations guidelines. The government’s Healthy China 2030 strategy (2016) aims to improve healthcare through China with telemedicine seen as playing a key role.
  • A lack of trust in traditional medical infrastructure, particularly outside Tier 1 cities, has led to increasing popularity of telemedicine apps with the most popular currently being Ping An Good Doctor (now at c.265m users).

Ping An Good Doctor Stock Price

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