2016: The Year for UK Medical Technology (MedTech)

Guest Blog by Dr Michelle Tempest, Partner at Candesic, Health & Social Care Consultancy 

Technology is everywhere. Your mobile phone is probably close at hand ready to break down the physical barriers of bricks and mortar. Technology rapidly advances in accordance with Moore’s law, which states that processing power doubles every two years.

Applications in healthcare are growing exponentially and the market develops with every blink of an eye (fig 1).  So how can decisions in purchasing technology ensure that they are ready for the market of tomorrow?  Currently procurement decisions across the MedTech spectrum are made in isolation. This article highlights the complex environment facing procurement and the weight resting upon the shoulders of people who do this important job and calls on the English Government to develop a pro-active matching scheme for MedTech to help the UK win the global race in the development of integrated IT, with interoperability from home to hospital and back home again.


We are living through an age where mobile telecommunications and digital services have changed everything, well almost everything.  The pace of change in robotics, the Internet of Things, data analytics and other disruptive trends have created increasingly accurate predictions, even of consumer spending habits. In health and social care, it is perhaps understandable that the rate of adoption has been much slower due to security, acuity, risk and multiple stakeholders.

The post digital Brave New World is a far cry from when the NHS was born in 1948, and an enlightened NHS MedTech baby has yet to be born. Other sectors have managed to keep pace alongside the Internet age, where more than 80% of UK adults use the internet, and almost as many carry a smartphone. In banking over 22 million people use online banking and each week 18.6 million use their mobile phone to make transactions. This has helped cut costs by 20% whilst customer satisfaction has soared.  In the airline industry, 70% of flights are booked on-line and the paper boarding ticket has almost disappeared with most people choosing digital e-tickets.  Compare this to the NHS: 2% of consumers report any form of digitally enabled interaction.  Sadly the experience remains stuck in the days before the Internet or smart phones.

The NHS has a chequered history when it comes to technology. The infamous NHS National Programme for IT, part of the Connecting for Health catastrophe, cost the taxpayer around £9bn over 10 years and delivered virtually nothing. So 2016 must be the year for the NHS to embrace MedTech, else other countries will reap the rewards.  The USA is so eager to win the global MedTech race that digital health spend has sky rocketed from £0.7bn in 2011 to £2.8bn in 2015 (Fig 2).


#Letsdoit #MedTechTinder #MedTechmatch

This entry was posted in Department of Health, Hospitals, Innovation, NHS, NHS IT, Technology, Telehealth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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