Hannah Harniess is a Digital Health (NHS) Navigator for the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme. Here she writes about her exciting new role and the challenges ahead.
As a physiotherapist who has worked within the NHS, I am acutely aware of the challenges faced by frontline staff. The NHS has made an incredible impact on society – by providing high quality medical care, for all, free at the point of use – yet population health needs are changing, and we know that the NHS faces incredible demands. While people are living longer than ever before, they are also suffering from an increasing burden of complex and often preventable chronic disease.
I passionately believe that the NHS could benefit from embracing some of the many incredible innovations in digital healthcare. Digital health has huge potential to transform the way people interact with the health system, and view their own health.
The 32 companies that the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator supports all offer innovations which could really impact the health system, whether through high-tech diagnostics, supporting efficiency, improving access, or transforming patient journeys.
We are a new programme, and this year will be an exciting journey for us all. Our role as Navigators is to support the companies to work their way around the NHS – which, in reality, represents a complex number of interconnected systems, rather than one single organisation. Each company we work with will be at a slightly different stage, and we intend to work as flexibly as possible to support them to achieve their goals for the year. For some this may simply involve a few introductions, while others may want more support around understanding policy or writing business cases.
I’m not sure what the next six months will look like, but the team knows that our ultimate success will be if we can improve care and the experience of those who use and work within the NHS. I am excited to be part of the Accelerator journey and working together with the companies, clinicians, managers and patients to refine and implement technologies that can bring tremendous benefit to the health and care system.