The Government’s NHS funding commitment: The EMC perspective


Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt announced yesterday that the government will be investing another round of funds into improving NHS technology, bringing the total funds available to £1 billion. The aim is to bring new and more efficient technology into the NHS to allow the day to day actions to run more smoothly.

Jeremy Hunt wants the money to be used to help to deliver the government’s commitment to allow everyone to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions online by March 2015. The money will also be spent on systems allowing hospitals and GP surgeries to share patients’ electronic records, enabling better coordination between health organisations including GPs and hospitals.

Chris Roche, Chief Technology Officer, EMC EMEA says “We welcome the news that the Government is committing to funding and delivering a large scale clinical database. This is vital for reducing paperwork, improving patient management and the patient experience within the NHS as it copes with an aging population and growing numbers of chronic disease sufferers. Crucially, it will play a vital role as bio-informatics and data-driven healthcare starts to take a role in supporting a broader strategic transformation of the NHS, turning it into a predictive care body that tackles disease before it strikes. Our hope is that this is – far from being a ‘pet project’, as the shadow health minister asserts – a core component of a broader transformation effort.

Key to this transformation will be to join up clinical (Phenotype) and molecular (Genotype) data to improve patient outcomes; that is, linking clinical symptoms with genetic data to identify and deliver the swiftest route to recovery and ultimately, improved survivability. For example, using a DNA test to prescribe the correct chemotherapy drugs for skin cancer raises the rate of effectiveness from 10 per cent to 70 per cent creating a significant saving in later treatments, hospital and in-home care.

This database, and others like it including the 100,000 genome project and the foundation of Genomics England, are key to the way we improve the way we share and linking data. Joining up data sets on the clinical side of the equation can only help this process.

As with all things data and particularly health related, however, data privacy and security are real concerns that should be debated in an open forum. But it is good to see the Government understanding the role that data and bio-informatics plays in transforming healthcare and that they are funding the change.

Partnerships, such as ours with Aridhia, are emerging that aim to use big data technologies and techniques to create a platform capable of revolutionising the management of chronic health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, pulmonary conditions and cardiovascular disease. This can happen in a number of ways:

• through the use of predictive analytics set across multiple datasets in real-time;

• through the delivery of stratified medical pathways, drawing on patient, environmental, social and genetic data to anticipate treatment pathways;

• through the correlation, analysis and interpretation of telehealth, telemetry and genomic data to treat disease preemptively.

Digitising patient records and making them available to stratified care will help with long term goals of cutting NHS costs and predicting pathways to better health.”

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