Blog: this year's learnings from NHS Expo

Communications Manager Hannah Davies reports on what's been learnt from this year's NHS Expo

22nd September 2017

NHS Expo, held this week in Manchester Central exhibition centre, is a key date in the Northern Health Science Alliance’s calendar. This year was again hotbed of new ideas, practices and networking with NHS leaders and innovators.

A few things we took away from this year’s event:

For action head to the pop up universities

Is it just me or did Expo seem quieter this year? A look at the pop-up university area demonstrated why. Buzzing with crowds, people were flocking to sessions to learn and share new ideas. This is where the real action was happening.

Artificial intelligence is imminent

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens speaking on Artificial Intelligence (AI) confirms its key place in the NHS’ future. Computers will able to read X-rays and analyse samples of diseased tissue, such as lumps that can indicate the presence of breast cancer within the next few years – speeding up diagnosis and saving money.

Digital isn’t an option it’s a necessity

Connected Health Cities (CHC) #DataSavesLives motto was highlighted all over the conference, particularly at the CHC and NHS Digital stands. Health data is already saving lives in the North, as visitors to the CHC stand learnt. GPs are sharing records leading to faster more effective treatments and researchers are discovering patterns and behaviours which offer the potential to help millions of people.

Catch the coffee culture              

As usual the stands giving away the coffee were the ones crowded with people. Savvy attendees found them quick and stayed for the networking, while savvy marketers and communicators descended on those queueing up for a good cup of Joe.

Collaborations bring the best results

This is core to what the NHSA does and it was echoed across everywhere, from the NHS Innovation Testbeds, to the Devo Manc event at Manchester Art Gallery. Collaboration brings results and no one can afford to hide in their own room. Open the doors and great things happen.

Keep the NHS mission at the heart of innovation

Anyone working here knows how wonderful the NHS is – and Ethel Armstrong, 87, – one of the most erudite and informed speakers at Expo, who started working in the newly-formed NHS nearly 70 years ago helped us all to understand why. A pertinent reminder that, as we build the NHS’s next 70 years through health innovation, we must not lose track of why it was set up in the first place.

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