Topol Review: Preparing the NHS workforce for digital healthcare

  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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Health Education England (HEE) has published its independent report into how to equip the NHS for the future of digital healthcare.

The Topol Review: Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future, was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and led by cardiologist, geneticist, and digital medicine researcher Dr Eric Topol.

The report makes recommendations on preparing NHS staff to make the most of innovative technologies such as genomics, digital medicine, artificial intelligence and robotics.

“Within 20 years, 90 per cent of all jobs in the NHS will require some element of digital skills. Staff will need to be able to navigate a data-rich healthcare environment. All staff will need digital and genomics literacy,” according to the review.

“The next decade presents an opportunity to address data governance and cyber security concerns, agree ethical frameworks and develop NHS staff/organisations to implement genomics and digital technologies in the workplace. The complexity of data governance requirements should not be a reason for inaction. Most importantly, there must be mechanisms in place to ensure advanced technology does not dehumanise care,” the report states.

Among the recommendations presented are:

  • Core training in genomic literacy for all healthcare professionals
  • Accredited genomic training for healthcare professionals in key clinical specialities
  • A framework for genomic leadership across clinical specialities and primary care
  • Create or increase the numbers of clinician, scientist, technologist and specialist posts with dedicated and accredited time to keep their skills up to date 
  • Educational resources for healthcare professionals in health data provenance, curation, integration and governance; the ethics of AI and autonomous systems/tools; critical appraisal and interpretation of AI and robotics technologies
  • Senior roles should be developed with responsibility to advise on opportunities offered by digital technologies

The full report is available here.