MedTech Wednesday: smarter hospitals and accelerating the digitalisation of the NHS

MedTech Wednesday is our regular check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful healthcare innovation and health technology news and trends.

This week, we look at the current trends in smart hospitals and remote monitoring, the UK government’s latest plans to accelerate the digitalisation of the NHS and a new update to the NHS Food Scanner mobile app to help parents improve their children’s diet. 

Smart hospitals embracing Internet of Medical Things devices

A new study by Juniper Research predicts that smart hospitals will deploy 7.4 million connected Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices globally by 2026, reports Health Business this month, equating to over 3,850 devices per smart hospital.

The figure represents a total growth of 131% over 2021, when around 3.2 million connected devices were deployed. The report notes that: “the concept of the IoMT involves healthcare providers leveraging connected devices such as remote monitoring sensors and surgical robotics to improve patient care, staff productivity, and operational efficiency.”

Smart hospitals in China and the US are leading the charge in the global adoption of IoMT devices, with the research highlighting “digital healthcare initiatives implemented during the ongoing pandemic and high levels of existing digitalisation within healthcare infrastructure as key to these countries’ leading positions.”

New NHS food scanner app set to improve children’s diets

Part of the government’s Better Health campaign includes a new NHS Food Scanner App, launched to help parent’s improve their children’s diet, reports Health Tech World this week.

The NHS Food Scanner App aims to provide a simple solution to help families maintain a healthier diet, with the latest updates to the app set to include a ‘scan, swipe and swap’ feature that will scan barcodes to encourage families to switch to healthier food.

Parents will be encouraged to scan shopping items, with the app suggesting healthier alternative food options and flagging “Good Choice” foods with less saturated fat, sugar or salt.

“We know that families have felt a lot of pressure throughout the pandemic which has drastically changed habits and routines,” said Public Health Minister Maggie Throup. “The new year is a good time for making resolutions, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Finding ways to improve their health is one of the best resolutions any of us could make.”

‘Girls Aloud’ member Nadine Coyle, who has backed the campaign said: “As a busy working mum, I find it hard to say no to my kid’s demands and often give in to ‘snack’ pressure, even though I know it’s not that good for them. I had no idea some foods were so high in sugar, saturated fat and salt, so it’s great that the app gives you alternatives.”

You can download the free NHS Food Scanner App here. 

Government urged to accelerate NHS digitalisation

With around one in five NHS trusts still being largely paper based, the UK’s Health and Social Care Committee has urged the government to “make further progress on the digitalisation of NHS and care services” according to digitalhealth.net.

The committee’s report into clearing the backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, published earlier this month, included a reference to the most recent spending review, which pledged £2.1 billion investment for technology and data and more ‘connected hospitals’ in British healthcare.

The report urges the government to use the recent Wade-Gery review, as a platform to accelerate the digitalisation of NHS and care services, which notes that “now is the moment to put data, digital and technology at the heart of how we transform health services for the benefit of citizens, patients and NHS staff”.