Friday, 23rd November 2018

Some of the ‘most prominent issues in healthcare’ and ‘stories of hope and recovery’ were all on the agenda at the Health and Wellbeing Summit held by the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII).

Opening the Summit, AMII Chairman Stuart Scullion talked of ‘continuous change and advances in healthcare’ before introducing the themes of the 2018 flagship event: Mental health, Artificial Intelligence, and improving quality in the industry.

Stuart said: “Each of us deals with change in a different way, and I am minded of eminent psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, who created her theory on the anatomy of change with the creation of her Change Curve. A knowledge and appreciation of the Change Curve will hold us all in good stead – as constant and continual change is with us to stay!”

Introducing the first keynote speaker of the day, Dr Umang Patel, Stuart said: “I believe the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the next big thing to hit healthcare, and we are seeing signs of that already.”

Addressing the delegates about how AI is shaping the healthcare sector, Dr Umang Patel, Partnerships and Clinical Director at Babylon Health, said: “We believe it’s possible to make healthcare affordable and accessible and put it into the hands of everyone on earth.

“We’re creating an artificially intelligent doctor built to mimic and augment a doctor’s training with the knowledge equivalent of 10+ years of medical training and decades of practical experience.

“To build an AI doctor we first need to capture human knowledge on modern medicine and encode it for machines. The AI doctor needs to understand billions of statements and continuously learn from new statements, for example.

“We also need to look at perception, so an AI doctor can understand the unique ways humans’ express symptoms, comprehend different language we use and read facial expressions in the way a real doctor would.

“Developing these areas further we are increasingly able to solve a range of healthcare challenges using AI and we expect to build this even further in the next six to 12 months.

“We’re resetting the standard of care and we want to ask everyone who joined us at the AMII Summit to come along for the journey.”

The Summit, held at One Great George Street in London, was attended by more than 200 representatives of healthcare businesses and organisations from across the country.

Branko Bjelobaba, AMII Compliance Partner who has worked across the insurance sector for over 30 years, spoke on the latest and upcoming regulatory changes such as GDPR and IDD.

Matt James, who established the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) in 2012, provided an update on the network’s progress in bringing transparency to the sector and discussed the joint project with NHS Digital.

Matt talked through the integration of data on privately funded healthcare into NHS systems and standards for the first time through the Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt). As well as highlighting the various stages needed to create one standard and one system collecting data for measuring quality for all care, he also discussed how best this data can then be used.

Matt said: “There will be practical challenges in achieving this, but the principles are being accepted, the intention is right, and direction of travel is moving forward. There are many ways we can then use this data to improve healthcare – publishing facts and figures on private healthcare, providing informatics for members and producing information for GPs to name a few.”

The final keynote speech of the day was given by Rethink Mental Illness ambassadors Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn. As an award-winning mental health campaigner, writer and film producer, Jonny Benjamin shared his journey through mental illness and his campaign to track down the stranger who talked him down from suicide attempt – Neil Laybourn.

Jonny said: “We want to tell a story today which has some really key messages around mental health and suicide, and we hope by sharing our story we can make a difference.

“Although people are starting to raise awareness of issues around mental health, there’s still a massive stigma and a huge difference in how mental and physical health are treated.

“We need more people to come forward and talk more openly and we need to start having the conversation from a younger age. Early intervention and prevention tools are so important and what is offered currently is just not enough by any means.”

Neil was described by Jonny as one of the “silent heroes” – one of many who go unrecognised but have saved a life by helping someone to overcome a suicide attempt.

Jonny continued: “We need more stories of hope and recovery. We need to focus on the positive aspect that isn’t reinforced enough.”

Talking to delegates about how companies can better support their employees, Neil highlighted their recent This Can Happen Conference – the largest ever gathering of companies to discuss employee mental health. More than 750 delegates from 120 companies shared solutions to everyday issues that their staff face.

Neil said “This Can Happen was a chance for us to look positively at the spectrum of workplace mental health and it was the biggest conversation we’ve had around this area of mental health that we’ve had so far.

“We know that in the near future legislation will play a role in how companies address mental health, but we also want employers to understand the business case as well as how it is the right this thing to do for staff. Companies should want to be at the forefront of this conversation, leading the way.

“There is huge scope when it comes to what insurers and intermediaries can do to help. Not only in enabling companies to provide better provision and support, but also in improving transparency of healthcare and helping people to find the right doctor for the right treatment. We need this guidance, not just for physical but for mental health, too.”

AMII’s Stuart Scullion concluded the conference by thanking Jonny and Neil for sharing their ‘inspiring, interesting and compassionate story’.

He said: “We’ve had an excellent line up of informative and inspiring speakers and this might be one of our best Summits.”