• Richard Harvey

Gresham College lecture on digital healthcare

Gosh this was a depressing lecture to write, especially as it was written during the UK's Covid lockdown. Thankfully it got postponed so I did not have to give it when emotions were running high about national healthcare systems -- in many countries round the world citizens were coming out on the street applauding their national healthcare systems. When I was applauding, I was applauding the individuals on the frontline who might be looking after me if I fell sick; I was certainly not applauding the IT systems on which they depend.

This is actually the second Gresham lecture to cover Healthcare IT, Martin Thomas and Harold Thimbleby also gave a grim lecture on the poor quality of software being used in the NHS. The logical outcome of their lecture is that there are certain aspect sof care which cannot be automated because we cannot be confident people can produce safe software. In this lecture I look for other areas where IT can be applied safely and there are some good examples, the quality of patient simulators for example is very impressive, but there are also some depressing observations on the general inefficiencies of support systems.

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