6 questions with Sam Shah, Director of Digital Development at NHS England
Could you define what your job role details and your day to day routine?
As director of Digital Development at NHS England, I lead programmes that help to empower citizens to use digital health services. I also work with suppliers and other partners to help the NHS solve problems and ensure integration between services in the NHS. In partnership with providers, my team and I support the digitisation of urgent and emergency care in the NHS.
How is your organisation applying blockchain?
Currently there are very few applications of blockchain within the NHS. Some companies are looking at blockchain to connect patient data across the NHS so people can easily access their own medical information, as well as allowing different NHS organisations to access a person’s medical information when they need to provide care for them.
What were the biggest challenges in using this technology?
The NHS is a heavily regulated environment. It comprises over 15,000 organisations with over 340 million GP consultations every year and 1.4 million patient interactions every 24 hours across the NHS. This means we have ongoing engagement with users. We need to ensure any technology that is introduced into the NHS is safe, clinically effective and of a high quality.
What can we expect from your team in the next 12 months?
Following the release of the Long Term Plan, we will be ensuring we start to fulfil the commitments. We have a health secretary who is driven to use technology to improve efficiency of the NHS. There is a push toward innovation in healthcare and development of a much greater ecosystem of different organisations. Companies are coming forward every day to work with the NHS—collaborating in a way that is very open.
What can we expect from blockchain in the next 12 months?
Blockchain has the potential to improve efficiency within the NHS, reduce administrative burden and enable safe sharing of data across NHS organisations so citizens can receive the most appropriate care for them. Blockchain could also play a role in remote monitoring by allowing people to upload their personal health data from wearable devices, enabling people to stay out of hospital and receive any care remotely. My team and I will be exploring the main challenges for the NHS and how different technologies can help to overcome these.
What are you most looking forward to at the show?
I am looking forward to meeting people from a whole array of industries. My team are always looking for the next set of developments to improve patient outcomes, user experience and efficiency. We also explore to see what is happening in other industries, such as context setting in travel and retail. We have to adopt these developments for the healthcare setting.