This week the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the Government will be investing £4.2 billion in digital health initiatives.  The investment is part of the Government’s latest drive to create a “paperless” National Health Service (NHS) by 2020.
The full details of the funding are still being agreed between the Department of Health and NHS England.  However, the funding is expected to include:

  • £1.8 billion to create a paper-free NHS and removing outdated technology
  • £1 billion on cyber security and data consent
  • £750 million to transform out-of-hospital care, medicines and digitalise social care and emergency care
  • About £400 million to build a new website (nhs.uk), develop apps and provide free Wi-Fi in hospitals

The Government’s investment in digital health seeks to allow patients with long-term conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer, to monitor their health remotely.  Patients will also be able to book services and order prescriptions online, have access to apps and speak to their doctor online or via a video link.

A review of NHS IT systems is currently being conducted by the National Advisory Group on Health Information Technology in England.  The advisory group will review how the NHS can improve its IT systems; including the use of electronic health records and how to achieve a paper-free NHS by 2020.  The Chair of the advisory group, Professor Bob Wachter, is due to publish a report in June that will outline how new use of IT can help the NHS.

The Hogan Lovells Digital Health team closely tracks the many issues that healthcare and technology companies face around the world and has deep experience in working with regulators and reviewing how new technologies are using health data.