How can the rapid pace of technological change in healthcare translate into the best outcomes for patients and policymakers?  

Across the world, healthcare systems face challenges of growing complexity; ageing populations, structural health inequalities, pollution- and climate-driven illness, and increasing health insecurity in vulnerable communities. Imperial Policy Forum’s health focus looks at post-pandemic lessons, innovative use of health data, and the challenge of identifying and overcoming health inequalities in the UK and internationally.

Public Health

The UK is only now beginning to grasp the extent to which health inequalities determine the life chances of many of our population. We also know that communities already in conditions of health insecurity were hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than others. Both the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and the UK Health Security Agency have made the identification of health inequalities a central priority in their ongoing work. 

This is where public health data becomes a vital tool. Data held by the health system, by local and national authorities, and by individuals (e.g. wearable technologies) can all give critical insight into the state of the nation’s health and be used to improve our services. Imperial Policy Forum is working with College experts on the question of how we can make the best of the data we have to improve the health and the lives of our communities.

MedTech, AI and wearables

New and innovative Medical Technologies (MedTech) are proliferating at pace. From the uses of AI and algorithms in clinical practice, through machine learning in medical imaging, to wearable technologies and ‘smart’ technologies in both hospitals and homes – there is a wealth of novel, creative solutions to current and emerging health policy challenges.

As our capacity for scientific and technological advances in MedTech surges ahead, questions remain about how policymakers and regulators should best adapt to new challenges of medical efficacy, data security and maintaining public confidence in the increasingly complex and potentially disruptive MedTech space. Imperial Policy Forum is working with researchers, industry partners, and community partners (such as NHS, think tanks, patients’ organisations) to ensure that new approaches to regulation can deliver the best innovations in health and care without sacrificing the confidence and goodwill of the public.