28 Feb 2019

Topol Review outlines measures to digitally upskill NHS workforce

Independent report, The Topol Review, commissioned by DHSC published earlier this month.

Earlier this month, Health Education England published the Topol Review, a report outlining how to best prepare the healthcare workforce for a digital future. The report draws on best practice in education, skills and training within the NHS workforce and worldwide. It offers concrete recommendations on how best to utilize digital technologies in health care specifically focusing on digital medicines, AI and genomics.  

The report also recommends that practitioners across healthcare work together to create public health initiatives to educate and engage the public on the benefits of digital health, with a specific focus on reducing public misperception of AI and robotics.  

The Topol Review, includes three main principles to support the deployment of digital healthcare technologies across the NHS, which are: 


  1. Patients must be regularly updated about new digital health technologies that affect them, with a focus on vulnerable communities to improve health equity. 
  2. The healthcare workforce should be kept informed of any developments in digital health and given enough guidance in order to effectively evaluate new health technologies and train staff.  
  3. New technologies should be adopted to improve the overall patient experience and to give healthcare staff more time to care for their patients.


The review notes that for these healthcare innovations to be fully realized, the NHS must first create and develop a digitally robust healthcare workforce.

The Topol Review also includes a list of the top 10 digital healthcare technologies and their estimated impact on the health workforce in the next 20 years (see image below).  



In reference to the Topol review, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, stated that:  

“I care passionately about giving our medical staff the right tools to do their jobs. I understand their frustration at systems that make their jobs more difficult. I get how a tough day becomes even tougher because something won’t work like it’s supposed to.” 

“Digital tech has the potential to transform our health service in the future, but the right tech, right now, will improve lives, and save lives. So the work must begin now.” 

The report concludes with a series of recommendations from health bodies and organisations and states that:  

“We must better understand the enablers of change and create a culture of innovation, prioritising people, developing an agile and empowered workforce, as well as digitally capable leadership, and effective governance processes to facilitate the introduction of the new technologies, supported by long-term investment.” 

techUK will be working with HEE to ensure that industry plays a central role in the digital skills agenda.

You can read the full report here: https://topol.hee.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/HEE-Topol-Review-2019.pdf