The HEU team at the Digital Healthcare Show

26 April 2024

What we learned at the Digital Healthcare Show

The Health Economics Unit team was excited to be invited to present our work and insights at the Digital Healthcare Show, but what did we learn while we were there?

With expert talks covering subjects from Population Health Management and applications for AI in healthcare to the impact of recent legislations, there was a lot of potential learning packed into the show’s two days.

We asked our team members for some of their highlights from the show.

What should we consider when using Artificial Intelligence in healthcare?

Lead Data Scientist Santosh Kumar joined an expert panel to discuss AI in healthcare, he shared his thoughts after their in-depth discussion: “In the NHS everyone should have knowledge of AI technologies, so that we can better understand and use these technologies.

“We should also focus on developing our own tailor-made AI applications to improve patient care, enhance processes, and optimise the resources. This way we can stay up-to-date with these technologies and build our own AI workforce within NHS.

“We need a close collaboration between Analysts, healthcare providers, and end-users to integrate the AI into clinical workflows. We need to ensure that AI models are perfectly integrated into existing processes and that healthcare professionals are properly trained to use and interpret AI generated outcomes.”

Lead Data Engineer Sophie Hodges shared her thoughts from attending panels exploring AI and its possible applications in healthcare. She said: “Evaluating the impact of AI in health is not something that should be underestimated.

“There is sometimes an assumption that not understanding how the black box works to any extent is ok.

“This may be the case for more simple and linear applications where our major concerns are false positive and false negatives, however AI can be used for more complex and complicated use cases where outputs are not binary so explainability becomes more vital in these situations.”

Senior Data Scientist Dr Joseph Lillington said: “It was clear from Santosh’s main stage panel that there needs to be a stronger regulatory framework, or consensus between different providers, on how to deploy and regulate AI.

“There’s increasing numbers of health professionals who are working across both clinical and technical areas; they are not as separated as they once were. This really came out in the main panel discussion, between BUPA, IBM and the Chief Nursing Officer.”

Putting Population Health Management into practice

While the theory of Population Health Management (PHM) has become established within the NHS, there was still plenty of discussion at the show as to how best to implement this in practice.

Sophie said: “PHM has been in policy for significant period of time now, however the challenge of embedding the philosophy into culture and established ways of working remains.

“There has been a huge amount of progress in PHM and there were lots of excellent talks on various areas. The next step is a whole-system approach, as considering the entire population and their wider needs is not a part of culture in lots of areas yet.

“It was great to hear examples of how well some places were working to establish PHM in their culture, and we can learn from these to move PHM out of the peripheries nationally.”

Health Economics Unit Director Andi Orlowski said: “There were lots of great examples of PHM, with tried-and-tested methods, but we still see systems struggle to work together, and for PHM to be truly effective you need that system working.

“We have seen some fantastic results through our Smarter Spending in Population Health programme, where we gathered stakeholders all together in one room to collaborate on our approach and focus on common goals.”

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