This time last year I was in California with a selection of the most inquisitive and entrepreneurial talent that the NHS has to offer.
We had taken ourselves to Singularity University’s ‘Exponential Medicine Conference’. This conference can be described in two words -‘Space Camp’. A future-focused conference grounded in the realms of the possible.
Sometimes as an innovator it can feel as though everything in front of you has been purposefully placed to trip you up, causing you to question the very reason why you were trying to change the system in the first place. When you attend Singularity University none of that matters, everyone who forms part of the faculty is there to aim for the stars and there is a sense that collectively you may even get interstellar.
The fact you are unlikely to get a speaking slot at the conference unless you believe your idea or invention has the potential to impact a billion lives tells you something about the way people who attend the conference think. Last year I came away from the three days buzzing with excitement and it inspired me to continue to push boundaries back in the UK.
What has always stuck with me from that conference is that I had to fly to the other side of the planet to meet and spend time with innovators and entrepreneurs from the NHS. The UK contingent was one of the largest national delegations in California last year and, from the social media updates this year, it is again continuing to do us proud.
Only a few weeks ago I attended NHS Expo in Manchester, and for the first time at a UK conference I felt some of the same energy I experienced at Singularity. This year’s NHS Expo brought together clinicians, innovators, policy makers, entrepreneurs and big industry. We were all under one roof, with one aim – to improve outcomes for patients while reducing cost for the system.
For me NHS Expo is a demonstration of the best the NHS has to offer and the two day conference reminds us that innovation is ripe within the NHS and we should shout about that.
Is there a way we could capture the excitement and energy of NHS Expo and show it to the world in the same way the UK delegation to Exponential Medicine has put the UK on the map for innovation in health and care?
Could we not hold the Next NHS Expo in California, Singapore, Shanghai or Dubai?
Let’s take the best of what the NHS has to offer and not only share it with practitioners on the ground in the UK but also share it with the rest of the world. The UK has a legacy of providing free access to healthcare at the point of care for anyone in need. It is something that is both integral to the way in which the UK operates but it’s also a model for how we should be delivering care around the world.
I know the first place to look for support for such an international NHS Expo will be the clinical entrepreneurs currently in California soaking up the exponential thinking that Singularity has to offer.