Topol review predicts digital skills shortage in NHS

Topol review predicts digital skills shortage in NHS

A report by US academic Eric Topol predicts that 90% of all NHS jobs will require digital skills within 20 years.

The Topol Review "Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future" suggests that fresh education is required to keep up with advancements in technologies such as AI and robotics.

"Over the next 20 years, three changes will inevitably happen," said Topol.

"More and more people will have their genome sequenced; patients will generate and interpret much more of their own health data at home; and the speed, accuracy and scalability of medical data interpretation from artificial intelligence will grow exponentially.

"These developments will change patients lives, change how clinicians work and change how healthcare services are delivered. This is happening now and the NHS is ideally placed to take it further, faster and wider if we act to give our staff the skills and knowledge they need to make them the norm across the NHS."

The review examines:

• How technological and other developments (including genomics, artificial intelligence, digital medicine and robotics) are likely to change the roles and functions of clinical staff in all professions over the next two decades to ensure safer, more productive, more effective and more personal care for patients;

• What the implications of these changes are for the skills required by the professionals filling these roles, identifying professions or sub-specialisms where these may be particularly significant;

• The consequences for the selection, curricula, education, training, development and lifelong learning of current and future National Health Service staff.

Topol stated: "Ultimately, embracing and implementing these technologies (including genomics) throughout the NHS, while clearly representing a challenge, is likely to prevent diseases and their complications, and produce an overall improvement in health outcomes."

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