Looking to the Future – Can We Keep Up?
The Healthcare sector, both in the UK and globally, has been presented with some tremendous challenges over the past 24 months but continues to develop, improvise and expand at an impressive rate. As services are expected to deliver more, for less, more rapidly and with increased precision than ever, the sector also has to tackle challenges around sustainability, the environment and addressing the inequities of healthcare to all.
A new political, social and economic will has been awoken as a direct result of the pandemic and digital technologies will play a critical role in transforming public and private sector healthcare for all. Indeed, last year, the UK government announced plans to add an average of £12 billion per year for health and social care over the next 3 years. Figures show that venture capitalist investment into digital health saw an almost 300% rise between 2017 and 2020.
One such area will be the continuing development of artificial intelligence (AI) within the sector. Companies will continue to develop and deliver AI tools to streamline all manner of healthcare related processes, improve diagnostics and speed up the development of new medicines and treatments.
But with all this recent development and rapid advancements, this has led to conversations on a national and international level around issues of regulation, compliance and whether current legislation is fit for purpose.
In September 2021, the UK government outlined that it was reviewing its policy approach to the regulation of AI and that the Office for AI will develop a “pro-innovation position” on governing and regulating AI and this will be outlined in more detail in a white paper in 2022.
In addition, the government also outlined plans to reform existing data protection law in September 2021, which included plans to simplify the “complex, dispersed and layered” provisions currently relating to the use of personal data for research purposes. The aim being to make it clearer as to how data can be used for scientific research. Later this year, the UK’s regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will outline its plans for possible changes to the regulatory framework for medical devices, amongst other regulatory framework matters.
So whilst the sector continues to push innovation and development, it will be key that governments and regulators across the world keep up.
For more information contact our Healthcare Team today