The crisis affecting global healthcare systems could be remedied today if people just bit the bullet and implemented the technology available to us, an IT commentator has said.

Speaking to PharmaTimes Digital ahead of the London Innovation Summit on 16 October, David Furniss, vice president, propositions and frameworks, global government and health at BT Global Services, said it “frustrated” him that healthcare stakeholders were not investing in today’s technology. 

“A lot of answers are with us. The problem is people are thinking about the next new device and technological advancement. It frustrates me because the solutions are already there. Take the budget gaps – we could tackle that now.”

One solution to many of healthcare’s problems is smartcities and smarthomes – such as telehealth and telecare and its relationship with geolocation technology (important for monitoring dementia patients), and device interoperability and controlling heating and other sensors in the home (important for the elderly and those with long-term conditions). 

But again Furniss lamented the speed of implementation. “The technology is already there, the problem is the speed they are implemented and how quickly they can be integrated in one device. There won’t be a flash and bang and smartcities will appear; it will be a progression. But there is a danger people will talk about the Internet of Things but won’t invest today,” he said. 

“We need to tackle chronic conditions and the ageing population. We need to roll out more telehealth today and not wait for the first smartcity to justify it.”  

There were four main reasons for the slow adoption of technology, Furniss said: systemic issues around decision making and no joined-up approach; a fear of technological redundancy – that something better will come along next week; the requirement for additional transformational change; and monetary investment in infrastructure. 

“A lot of people still say they need to be convinced about telehealth’s benefits but intuitively they know there is a benefit. Let’s just go for it and get on with it.” 

PharmaTimes Media is a media partner for the London Innovation Summit on 16 October, which discusses new disruptive technologies affecting our lives. BT Global Services is a sponsor. For more information and to book tickets got to: