Dr Ben Goldacre to lead new tech advisory board for NHS

Dr Ben Goldacre has been appointed chair of a new health tech advisory board for the NHS, reporting directly to health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.

Dr Ben Goldacre (Photo: RCGP)
Dr Ben Goldacre (Photo: RCGP)

Dr Goldacre is a keynote speaker at the RCGP annual conference in Glasgow on Thursday morning.

Mr Hancock  said the board would highlight where technological change needs to happen, where best practice is not being followed, and become an ideas hub for how to improve patient outcomes and experience and make the lives of NHS staff easier.

Dr Goldacre is senior clinical research fellow at the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, and best-selling author of the book Bad Science. His EBM DataLab combinines the skills of academics, clinicians and software engineers to create useful tools from academic and health data.

Mr Hancock said he wanted to make the NHS an ecosytem for the best technology available, a culture change that would require stronger management and leadership.

‘We should train more of our own, yes, and bring in more talent from the outside too who know how to inspire change. And we are starting this at the top. I am creating a HealthTech Advisory Board consisting of tech experts, clinicians and academics, and, as in the case of Ben, people who combine that holy trinity 3 in 1.’

Making use of data

The appointment will spark extra interest around Dr Goldacre’s speech on Thursday morning, following criticism of the health and social care secretary’s championing of Babylon and its controversial GP at Hand online consulting service.

Dr Goldacre’s presentation, entitled Better Data, Better Doctors, Better Patients, will set out his vision of medicine as ‘a craft informed by evidence and data’.

‘In an ideal world we would be constantly surveying the horizon, identifying uncertainty about treatment benefits, conducting good cheap trials and fair tests to find out what works best,' he said.

‘Then we would summarise that evidence and communicate it, as swiftly as possible, to coalface clinicians and patients in intelligible nuggets, and we would be auditing across the country, in routine data, to see whether new evidence is being applied.

‘We fall short on every single step of the way but that’s not the fault of individuals. This is all eminently fixable: there are simple things the NHS, academics, and clinicians can do to make it easy for doctors and patients to follow the evidence.’

Dr Goldacre will also be showcasing the first output of his EBM DataLab at the conference, a live explorer for individual practice prescribing data called OpenPrescribing at the conference in a workshop session on Thursday afternoon.

Read more from the RCGP annual conference

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GP training: Useful resources when preparing for the AKT

GP training: Useful resources when preparing for the AKT

Dr Branavan Anandasundaram highlights useful resources that GP trainees can use to...

GP training: How to succeed in the AKT

GP training: How to succeed in the AKT

Dr Branavan Anandasundaram passed the AKT earlier this year with a score of 89.5%....

Medico-legal: Advice on prescribing opioids

Medico-legal: Advice on prescribing opioids

The MDU's Dr Ellie Mein advises on how to avoid the medico-legal risks associated...

Map: How CQC ratings for general practice vary across England

Map: How CQC ratings for general practice vary across England

An overwhelming 95% of GP practices in England are rated either 'good' or 'outstanding'...

Rise in GP waiting times 'driving more patients to Google health advice'

Rise in GP waiting times 'driving more patients to Google health advice'

Longer waits for GP appointments may be pushing more patients to search for health...

GP locum rates continue to rise in most parts of the UK, poll reveals

GP locum rates continue to rise in most parts of the UK, poll reveals

Average hourly rates received by locums have risen across England over the past 12...