KeepHealthCare.ORG – Robots will solve NHS staff shortage in Jeremy Hunt’s plan to revolutionise healthcare | UK | News
Speaking ahead of the 70th anniversary of the NHS, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told the Daily Telegraph that Britain’s health services should learn from technologically advanced countries such as Japan, Hong Kong and Korea.
Some of the artificial intelligent humanoids used in Japan provide physical support to the most frail, such as assisting them to walk, while others provide entertainment and encourage the elderly to take part in activities.
The Health Secretary said: “Earlier this year I visited Japan.
“By 2040 a third of the country’s population will be aged over 65, and Japan has responded by capitalising on its well-known love of electronics to help patients monitor their health at home via smartphones and use robots to support patients in care homes.
“We need more of this kind of innovation in the NHS if we are to change the centre of gravity from cure to prevention – a National Health Service and not just a National Sickness Service.”
He continued highlighting his desire for genomic profiles to become an integral part of NHS medical records within a decade.
Mr Hunt said: “As we look to the future we must shift gears so the NHS leaves behind its creaky hospital IT systems and becomes the future-facing smart care system we know it can be.”
On Tuesday he will announce an extra £215m fund for NHS research for innovation and technology.
US geneticist Dr Eric Topol warned of an ethical debate about use of “pervasive surveillance techniques that many consider highly intrusive” but claimed such changes were absolutely needed to take the strain off overburden care workers and help the UK cope with an ageing population.
Mr Topol highlighted advances within the UK and the current work at the University of Bristol to develop “assisted living” humanoids which can support elderly people, by dressing them, providing them meals and comfort.
He said so far trials had found people were more willing to engage with technology than what they had thought.
“It may well be that some people reject this out of hand but actually it has got a lot of potential and we have found that a lot of people are more comfortable relaying their innermost secrets to a machine rather than to a person.
“We also know that with an ageing population we just don’t have enough resources to support people,” the US geneticist said.
Mr Topol also advocated for the expansion of “virtual health coaches” in people’s homes, as it would prove to be “one of the most transformative aspects” of healthcare.
These health coaches could track people’s health data, genetic information, habits and access medical records.
He said: “This is about using information in a practical way, giving the right feedback to maintain good health, how to prevent an asthma attack or a migraine.”
According to a report by surgeon and former health minister Lord Darzi and the Institute of Public Policy Research, one third of the tasks done by nurses, and nearly one quarter of that done by doctors could be done by artificial intelligence systems.