At the birth of cinema, over 125 years ago, folk flocked to theatres, intrigued by rumours of photographs coming to life – moving pictures.
During one of those early screenings, the audience watched the screen in horror as a locomotive appeared to advance towards them. Fearing that the train would hit them they leapt from their seats and into the aisles.
Although the reaction is both understandable and – in retrospect – charming, the historically interesting aspect is how willing people were to be part of a movement (quite literally). In essence, they wanted to ‘witness history’.
The ‘future’, as with so many pivotal episodes in history, is not some unimaginably advanced time period. In reality, it is often centred in the present. The here, the now.
UK pharma and life sciences are a totemic symbol of that glorious future, but parts of wider healthcare lurch around hopelessly deferential to the past. The NHS has only just phased out fax machines. I’ll allow you to process that for a while.
In a way the fax machine is a perfect metaphor for public health systems. Well-meaning but utterly unreliable.
The key for a reboot in which pharma, the NHS and patients have a slick, symbiotic relationship is a fluid system design that embraces innovators, inter-sector visionaries, start-ups and, yes, big tech.
As a nation we must reshape the NHS and that means taking courage. It means, stepping into the theatre of dreams and becoming part of history.