Guest blog: The technology advances we have seen now tell me the future looks exciting by Kevin FongAs a guest speaker at the CHKS Top Hospitals awards 2016. it was an honour to see so many organisations rewarded for excellence. I spend a lot of my time moving between systems working out what we can learn from one to another. I’m currently seconded to Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance and I was keen to work there because the medical risk and aviation risk coincide. 
 
In some ways the air ambulance is a good metaphor for the way we want healthcare to be delivered today. We would like it to be where we need it, when we want it and provided by professionals with the greatest expertise. However, the reality is very different. When we are really ill today we have to go somewhere to be treated and I think that when we look back on this period in history that will seem very odd. In the future we will see healthcare flow out of our hospitals and into our community and advances in technology will play a part in this.
 
There are many ways technology can and will help to improve the care we deliver. An amazing story from ‘today’ particularly stands out. This is a skiing accident in Norway involving a junior doctor called Anna Bagenholm. Anna caught an edge on her ski and left the piste ending up submerged in an icy stream for an hour.
 
After going into cardiac arrest she was eventually dragged from under the ice sheet, but her colleagues still try to save her. She was then ventilated with oxygen and given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during a helicopter flight to hospital. By the time she reached hospital there had been no heartbeat for two hours. In hospital, she was warmed up using cardiopulmonary bypass which circulated and re-warmed the blood outside the body by a machine that mimics the action of the heart and lungs.
 
The existence of heart lung bypass machines and other technological advances helped to bring Anna back to life and having survived she is now working as a consultant radiologist.
 
So technology really is the hero of healthcare today. We have better machines and better technology. But what does this mean for the future?
 
We have failed to grasp that the way we deliver medicine is by ‘snapshot’ – consultations at certain points in a lifetime, rather than as a ‘movie’ – constantly alongside the patient. We have moved beyond the era of health being delivered by doctors carrying black bags. The future of healthcare lies firmly with the broadband connection, connecting technology and creating the ability to deliver care as and when it is needed.  This will help ensure that not only are patients’ needs met, but also that patients themselves are put in control of their own healthcare decisions.

About 
Dr Kevin Fong is an astrophysicist, NASA scientist and consultant anaesthetist. Kevin was the guest speaker at the CHKS Top Hospitals Awards 2016 where he shared his views on risk and safety and the future of healthcare.

As a guest speaker at the CHKS Top Hospitals awards 2016, it was an honour to see so many organisations rewarded for excellence. I spend a lot of my time moving between systems working out what we can learn from one to another. I’m currently seconded to Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance and I was keen to work there because the medical risk and aviation risk coincide. 
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