Investment and Innovation in Diagnostics
CHN was back at DAC Beachcroft on 9th February with Sir Mike Richards and Geoff Searle to discuss how the NHS can ensure sufficient diagnostic capacity while adopting new approaches, new technologies and new ways of working.
Mike set out the significant need to increase capacity in diagnostics, particularly outside of hospital. The current focus is on building new community diagnostic centres but there will also need to be a major push on productivity.
Both Mike and Geoff described a range of productivity opportunities to improve throughput – increasing opening hours (some facilities are now open seven days a week), smart scheduling using digital tools and AI to inform duration/sequencing, reducing DNAs through proactive contact with patients, changing the skill mix and using AI to report.
They also identified opportunities to ensure effective demand/referrals – e.g. screening algorithms and use of Advanced Intelligence (AI) to identify risk factors.
A number of members of the audience described advances in technology which offer potential for some diagnostics to shift to more home-based, self care opportunities but flagged the need to recognise potential loss of efficiency.
Others talked about the need to consider more widely how to integrate diagnostics ensuring effective use in the care pathway and highlighting the benefits of locating GP practices with community diagnostic centres.
All agreed, commissioning is key – we need to ensure resources across the health and care system are focused on the most impactful services with measured outcomes.