A New Medical Landscape

The medical field is by tradition and necessity a highly conservative business, and as such has been one of the last to adopt highly integrated computerized solutions. Probably with good reason given the critical systems involved. Robust systems of high quality does not come about by themselves, but are a product of adequate resources, efficiently put to use.

Both Sweden and the UK are countries where a discussion around these issues has started to yield concrete results. A new law on biobanking and an action plan for the implementation of an e-health system in the former, a strategy for Life Science in the latter. In 2014, three Swedish institutes, LIF, Swedish Medtech and Sweden BIO, concluded that quality in individual systems was usually sufficient, but that coordination between systems and organizations was missing. An action plan was devised. In UK, the situation is somewhat improved by the presence of a national healthcare system, the NHS, making it possible to launch nation wide research and healthcare collaborations such as the UK Biobank.

Clear is that the new technological environment will bring a new possibilities in healthcare, but also changes in how we work. How does this new environment patient, the researcher, the medical personnel and the provider of technical services? The technician will suddenly be an important part in a traditionally non-technological field. What will that require in terms of people skills, risk assessment and ethical thinking?

As a Swedish citizen, working for several years in the UK on the fence between medicine, biology and technology, I take a particular interest in some of the differences between their respective national systems, against the backdrop of European and Global policies, trying to bring to light some of the opportunities and challenges facing us. At the same time, I will try to share my knowledge in this field.

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