The Topol Review: Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future

VR technology to recreate real-life scenarios nurses would face

The Topol Review: Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future has been published and it makes recommendations to enable NHS staff to make the most of innovative technologies.

The Topol Review was commissioned by The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care as part of the draft health and care Workforce Strategy for England to 2027 – Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future.

Led by cardiologist, geneticist, and digital medicine researcher Dr Eric Topol, The Topol Review, explores how to prepare the healthcare workforce, through education and training, to deliver the digital future.

The Topol Review makes recommendations that will enable NHS staff to make the most of innovative technologies such as genomics, digital medicine, artificial intelligence and robotics to improve services. These recommendations support the aims of the NHS Long-Term Plan, and the workforce implementation plan, helping to ensure a sustainable NHS.

The Review advises on:

  • How technological and other developments (including genomics, artificial intelligence, digital medicine and robotics) are likely to change the roles and functions of clinical staff in all professions over the next two decades to ensure safer, more productive, more effective and more personal care for patients
  • What the implications of these changes are for the skills required by the professionals filling these roles, identifying professions or sub-specialisms where these may be particularly significant
  • The consequences for the selection, curricula, education, training, development and lifelong learning of current and future National Health Service staff.

Commenting on the Topol Review into technology and the healthcare workforce, Harry Evans, Researcher at The King’s Fund, said: “Technology underpins some of the most ambitious targets in the NHS Long-Term Plan so it is vital that staff are able to use digital tools and understand the data they generate. The Topol Review makes a number of welcome recommendations to create a digitally-savvy workforce with the knowledge and flexibility to embrace emerging technologies.

“At a time when staff have never been more stretched, technology has an important role to play in making life easier for over-burdened nurses, doctors and other staff, freeing them up to focus on supporting patients. As well as training staff to use technology, new systems should be designed to reduce the daily pressures facing NHS workers.”