NIHR| August 2018 | Healthcare in 2088 – how will research and innovation transform the NHS in the next 70 years?
Professor Mike Trenell, Director at NIHR Innovation Observatory, envisages how the NHS might look in 70 years’ time. Acknowledging this is difficult to predict for a decade’s time, it is much more problematic to prepare further ahead. Instead, Professor Trenell and his colleagues at the NIHR Innovation Observatory keep an eye on what the future holds. Helping the NHS and healthcare leaders to understand future medicines, devices and diagnostics helps to shape policy, regulation and approvals and stimulate research activity.
The full blog post is available from NIHR
They identify three areas that will influence the future of healthcare
- Digital Healthcare:
In the future, whether you access a GP through a video call, artificial intelligence is used to interpret your MRI scan, or your phone lets you know what dose of a drug to take – digital healthcare holds the potential to fundamentally change how we access and provide care.
- Changing Genes:The ability to alter genetic coding was established in 2012, a technology called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats – CRISPR. But scientists and care teams have translated this into ways to tailor immune therapies to attack cancers or cut out mutations that cause disease.
Research taking place in this area right now provides a glimpse of how gene editing might affect future care. For example, researchers funded by the NIHR’s Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme are conducting a clinical trial looking at using gene therapy to replace the faulty gene that causes the incurable eye disease choroideremia with a healthy one.
The ability to modify genes will have deep implications for the management and prevention of some diseases, but it will also have deep societal and ethical implications.
- Looking after ourselvesThis area is not an innovation by definition, but it will have important implications for us all. Today the NHS has developed into a world leading health care provision service, but is being challenged by the pressures being put upon it. Obesity rates continue to rise and physical activity levels falling. Although the NHS is keeping us alive longer, it comes at a very real financial and individual cost (are the extra years actually of a quality we would like?).
We are moving from an era of biomedical enlightenment into a realisation of its limitations. The future will involve a greater balance of disease prevention and public health as well as disease management – we need to revisit the original remit of the NHS and create a “wellbeing culture”.
The full, unabridged post is available from NIHR