18 Nov 2020

MedTech Wednesday: WEF lists top ten emerging health technologies

MedTech Wednesday is our weekly 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 World Economic Forum’s suggested top emerging health technologies that it foresees helping to end the coronavirus pandemic and avert the next one. Additionally, we look at the latest NHS auditing framework to assure cost-effective and fraud-free procurement in the health service, as well as a new project that’s looking to tackle the ‘digital health divide’ in reducing health inequalities in the UK.


WEF lists top 10 emerging health technologies

This week, the World Economic Forum considers the top emerging health technologies that it hopes will help to end the coronavirus pandemic and avert future crises.

“Virtual patients, vaccines, medicine-making biomachines and microneedles are examples of tech innovation that is meeting the moment to address the global health crisis,” notes the latest WEF report.

“This year’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies, revealed in a new report produced in partnership with Scientific American, are meeting the moment to fuel a “Great Reset”: a complete redesign of how we manage the current crisis and prevent or mitigate the next one.

“Tech innovation is the agent of change. The current cohort, with those of earlier editions, offer solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges – notably the global health crisis and its economic fallout, alongside the ongoing climate emergency….Two divergent yet critically entwined issues arise: the technological resources brought to bear in addressing this pandemic, and the global international governance and coordination required to achieve best outcomes.

“The benefits of technology require the development of one critical but so far elusive asset: trust. Trust at the personal, institutional, governmental, and global level, is required to make material gains. Technology can assist in providing the tangible assets required to drive a Great Health Reset, but success will be determined by the willingness of all stakeholders to trust one another and to invest in a shared effort.”


New NHS auditing framework to combat fraud reports this week on a new NHS auditing framework set to save time and money for the UK’s stretched public health service.

“Developed by NHS Shared Business Services, the Internal and External Audit, Counter Fraud, and Financial Assurance Services Framework is free-to-use for any public sector organisation,” notes the report.

“With a range of 20 suppliers, the framework covers an array of specialisms such as External Audit, Internal Audit, Counter Fraud, Well Led Governance and Ancillary Services.”

Phil Davies, Director of Procurement at NHS SBS, said: “We understand the financial pressures that public sector organisations are under at present, and the framework has been carefully designed with this in mind. Indeed, suppliers are excited to have the opportunity to help public sector organisations and offer a streamlined, cost-efficient and effective service.”


Tackling the UK’s digital health divide

Finally this week, another report over on Health Business looks at a new three-year project trialling digital technologies with disadvantaged communities across the UK, in an effort to tackle the growing ‘digital health divide’ exposed by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The final report from the NHS’s Widening Digital Participation Programme says that having internet access and digital skills are essential for people’s health and well-being today, but the current ongoing coronavirus pandemic has further exposed the ‘digital divide’ – the links between digital exclusion and social and economic disadvantage.”

The report “recommends creating a network of ‘digital health hubs’, after several were set up through the project to build digital health literacy and improve access to services. The report also calls for further work to harness the benefits of digital inclusion, for example by supporting people to try out different devices and assistive technologies to boost their health.”