Orthopaedics can boost innovation by thinking smarter
Bones and Joints Bone and joint conditions cost the NHS billions but the inventive use of technology could help reduce costs and improve outcomes, says Orthopaedic Research UK’s CEO Dr Arash Angadji.
As the population ages, many more of us will suffer from bone and joint problems.
The NHS spends about £5bn a year treating orthopaedic conditions that put a strain on the UK’s health and social care system.
The NHS needs to look for cheaper, better and smarter solutions.
Unfortunately in the field of orthopaedics there remains a rather conservative culture when it comes to embracing new technology. For example, the design of the hip replacement has hardly changed in 60 years. Furthermore, in the age of advanced computation, in order to report surgical outcomes, clinicians manually input data into the National Joint Registry (NJR), which monitors how effective various joint replacements have been.
Just consider the potential if new technology was used to make smart medical devices that would automatically transmit patient data to the NJR.
By capturing this data, patients and the NHS would have a better understanding about how a joint replacement functions and performs for patients of different demographic characteristics. This data build up can be incredibly valuable for future generations.
From electric cars to communication devices, we have witnessed exciting advances in science and technology that bring more comfort to our busy lives.
Yet if we are to prevent, diagnose, treat orthopaedic conditions and advance patient and social care in future, there must be more of an appetite and drive for innovation.
Going forward, the NHS could make more use of patients’ health information and adopt a technology based approach in every day clinical practice. This means encouraging all stakeholders to embrace change and actively promote cross disciplinary collaborations.
In the battle to tackle debilitating bone and joint pain in an ageing population, the old ways must be challenged and a novel approach towards research agreed.