Q&A with Sam Shah Global Digital Advisor and NHS Clinician at NHS
The Edge Event: In your opinion, how far off are we from unlocking next-gen healthcare solutions with technology?
Sam Shah: I think we are quite close to unlocking next-generation healthcare solutions with technology. Technology has been advancing for sometime with some novel healthcare use cases emerging frequently. However, the technology is rarely the problem, the barriers in healthcare often come down to culture, legacy systems and funding models in existing healthcare systems.
EE: What technology do you think will be most transformative in the sector?
SS: I think the most simple of technology will be transformative in healthcare, basic things such as solving the problem of booking and scheduling appointments with healthcare providers using existing web based technology as well as remote communications technology that will connect patients with clinicians over whichever mode is most appropriate for the interaction whether that’s video, voice or even chat. At some point in the future, other technology such as AI or VR will be important too but at the moment it’s simple technology that will make a difference.
EE: What do you think will be the biggest barrier? Will it be the technology or will it be the patients’ acceptance?
SS: Patient acceptance is already quite good as many patients use technology in their every day lives. However, the digital divide still remains where some people don’t have basic access to the internet or smart devices, others may not have the digital skills needed to use technology. The barriers range from those technical barriers to more fundamental cultural barriers in the way that services currently operate. There’s a bigger set of issues that still need to be addressed relating to privacy, security and safety; these are all essential when it comes to health care technology.
EE: To what extent are the likes of remote surgery a realistic possibility? What are the potential challenges and restrictions with this?
SS: Remote surgery is a realistic possibility but it also depends on what we mean by remote surgery. For quite sometime, a few world renowned surgeons have been collaborating online to carry out novel procedures but as yet there are very few examples of robots carrying out surgery with a remote operator. The challenges range from dexterity of the robot, through to managing complications and reliability of connections.
EE: Why did you choose to be involved in The Edge Event 2020?
SS: The Edge Event 2020 brings together a range of industry experts from different sectors who can share and exchange ideas as well as the latest developments across telecommunications, cloud, data and IoT. It’s a great way to generate ideas as well as learn from others.
EE: What are you most looking forward to with the virtual edition of the show?
SS: Really looking forward to the most recent developments in IoT and consider how these could be applied to healthcare.