The healthcare sector is facing a myriad of global challenges. The solutions do not lie in just one entity or profession; instead it needs a multi-disciplinary approach by several groups to help unearth the deep-lying problems and provide meaningful solutions.
Already, in our very first meeting, IET Healthcare established steadfast goals centred around how this should be done: informing engineers, healthcare stakeholders and wider society about technology and how it can be applied to better promote cost savings globally. Our objective is to inspire multidisciplinary engineers, entrepreneurs, clinicians and the future generation of healthcare professionals by promoting equal gender diversity and assessment of skills. Furthermore, we have been tasked with trying to achieve visibility, community and interdisciplinary action, as well as offering key stakeholders an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise.
Engagement mechanisms that the IET is looking to undertake in the healthcare sector
Mapping ‘the right stuff’
We mapped the idea of the IET being in a position to enable people to identify problems and solutions far more quickly. The IET can provide a platform for sharing best engineering practices that can document strategic challenges and creative ways of innovating solutions. Taking other perspectives into account, technologists and engineers face challenges when introducing technology into a primary care setting.
Nevertheless, most of the challenges manifest due to the breakdown of engagement with clinicians. This is due to the notion that most clinicians, for a variety of reasons, are difficult to engage. Therefore, the IET may be in a position to create a framework that improves and builds a constructive platform for dialogue with healthcare givers. This will include the promotion of a transactional mechanism that allows healthcare stakeholders to better engage with a broader audience of engineers, technologists and innovators. Why? Firstly, this would allow room for the creation of leadership that the hospital needs. Secondly, this process would allow for better development of the scale.
The right approach
The next mechanism is how we can ensure that the healthcare sector executes the perfect step-by-step process to identify problems. This can be the start of mapping out solutions to the healthcare challenges. The Healthcare vertical will look at developing and communicating the right approach for a broad range of existing engineering challenges - for instance, exploring what the future of healthcare should ideally look like.
After identifying the problems and where they stem from, the next step would be to place greater focus on the broader industry and political environment. ‘Made Easy’ will consist of analysing how the problem arose and how the government can ease regulations to allow Clinical Commissioning Groups to engage differently with engineers and technologists. This stage should evaluate the barriers, incentives and governance, as well as the solutions in industry and policy. For instance, commercial healthcare is seen as non-beneficial to the economy partly because of the excellent brand of NHS internationally. This should give academics, corporate partners and SMEs greater scope to study the potential that is being under-utilised, and we may need to unwind the strict government regulations.
The IET can ask its members to help in providing globally-acclaimed examples to examine conclusions that other countries have considered. Within the UK, this can act as evidence when influencing industry and government agendas. Moreover, within a UK-centric context, this could be especially opportune post-Brexit, where it may be easier to challenge the existing bureaucracy and enable better steps for innovation.
The IET is well placed to provide a broad perspective in terms of engineering knowledge and expertise in Healthcare. Furthermore, the charity would help, through collaboration, to provide structure and the space for mapping the critical challenges and understanding how engineering and technology can help in providing these solutions. For instance, bringing other diverse engineers stationed globally to map out problem areas in the healthcare arena is a unique USP for the IET with regards to strategic partnership and engagement.
In conclusion, the IET can provide the right stakeholders and a diverse set of skills to enable problem solving in the healthcare sector, as well as get engineers into the healthcare system to fix health systems by mapping the needs. The IET will work in tandem with the appropriate stakeholders to realise its goals and meet these dynamic problems in healthcare.