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Digital health tech backed to reduce burden on NHS

Digital health solutions have the potential to reduce the burdens on the NHS by helping people manage health problems before they need to be admitted to hospital, an expert in health contracts has said.31 May 2018

Louise Fullwood of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said the new live video doctor service and symptom checker offered by digital health provider Babylon and communications giant Samsung is an example of the new technologies emerging to support traditional means of health care.

Babylon and Samsung announced their new partnership on Thursday. The move will combine Babylon's artificial intelligence (AI) service with Samsung's health app to allow users to "book video appointments with certified doctors 24/7 to obtain medical advice, manage and order prescriptions online".

Users will also be able to "check their symptoms and receive high-quality triage information about physical health, common ailments and symptoms straight to their device", according to a statement issued by the companies.

Fullwood, who advised Samsung on issues relating to health care and medical devices regulation as part of the deal, said: "We are seeing a growing number of businesses in the health care and technology sectors collaborate with one another to provide innovative new digital health solutions. These companies see the potential to utilise each other's strengths and offer digital health products and services that reflect the smartphone age and meet the needs of both patients and providers."

"Digital health technologies have enormous potential to reduce the burdens on the UK's NHS. The announcement by NHS Improvement that health trusts in England ran at a combined deficit of £960 million in the last financial year – almost double that which was planned – highlights the cost pressures the NHS is under. Digital health solutions have a real role to play in managing and reducing the need for acute admissions and so help address the NHS' burden and deficit," she said.