Simon Says…

Mary McKenna and Andrew Cockayne provide a review of Simon Stevens’ keynote speech at e-Health Week 2015.

Captive Health were proud to sponsor the mHealth Summit and Health Insights Summit at UK e-Health Week 2015. 


Last week the Captive Health team were at the e-Health show at Olympia.  It was buzzing with ideas about how to transform the health & social care sector in the UK through better use of digital tools and technology.  It was great to hear so much talk at the event about knowledge sharing, use of big and open data and improved engagement both between healthcare staff and with patients.  For the geeks amongst us there was plenty of innovation to feast on.

We listened to many wise people voice their opinions but for the purpose of this blog, this is what we heard Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England say in his keynote.

Let’s start you off with his opening gambit – “No industry has ever re-invented itself on the scale that the NHS needs to over the next 5 years without smart use of technology”.  Music to our ears to hear that message loud and clear from the top.  It was also refreshing to hear Simon Stevens say early in his speech that we need to take a look at how engagement happens and start to take apps seriously.


Simon focused on 4 big changes that technology will bring to the practice of medicine and healthcare and they were as follows:

  1. More global transparency about the quality of care delivered.  He referred to a survey conducted in 5 Western countries 2 years ago where doctors and the general public were all asked a single question – “Do you think the quality of care delivered locally differs?”  50% of doctors and 33% of the public said yes.  The challenge will be to erode that transparency gap and deliver care to more consistent standards through the use of big data.
  2. Greater personalisation of care. He talked specifically about care tailored to biogenetic requirements.
  3. Anticipatory care – using the data you have to forecast for example the people most likely to be admitted to your hospital in the immediate short term.
  4. More power to the patient.  He referenced California based Eric Topol’s book “The Patient Will See You Now”.

In this book, Topol writes: “…there is the chance that smartphones will democratize medicine. That will ultimately be achieved when each individual has unfettered, direct access to all of their own health data and information.”  Captive Health’s Patient Connect, offers healthcare providers a way of signposting patients to trusted resources in the ever-growing market for digital healthcare products. And there were no shortage of those at e-health week.

So here’s our challenge back. Whom do we trust?

The fact remains that the NHS is a highly trusted brand. By endorsing lifestyle products and ‘prescribing’ telehealth solutions, NHS providers can vastly improve the quality of care, and boost efficiency.

The clear opportunity for the NHS is to try and get ahead of the four trends Simon Stevens outlines, whilst dealing with the funding challenge. Stevens finished on a positive note by saying that he is optimistic that the NHS will get it right in the coming 5 years but that efficiencies must be driven from a fundamental redesign of care.

While we think it is important to communicate options effectively to patients, we know it is imperative that providers find new ways of engaging staff in this journey of  change.

Mary is a Director at Captive Health. Andrew is our MD. You can read a short biography, here.