IGHI’s healthcare Christmas wishlist: 9 gifts we’d like for the festive season

As we approach Christmas and the end of a challenging year, it’s a time to reflect on our progress and the changes we’d like to see.

We caught up with some of our team members to find out what’s on their wishlist this Christmas for transforming healthcare.

“I would like a revolution in dementia care”

Matt Harrison, Senior Design Associate, Helix Centre

“COVID-19 has exacerbated the isolation that people affected by dementia were already experiencing. Supporting someone at home with dementia relies on a network of friends, family, professionals and community groups, which fell apart during the pandemic. While the rest of our society went online to address our social needs, the most isolated among us were left further behind. We need a new approach to caring for people in their own homes, using technology to address physical and mental health and social connection in affordable, accessible and supported ways for those who need it most.”

Find out more about Matt’s work here.

“I would like trust in vaccines”

Gianluca Fontana, Operations Director and Senior Policy Fellow, Centre for Health Policy

“The reality of multiple COVID-19 vaccines being available seems closer and closer. But, it will only help if a very high proportion of the population gets vaccinated. In an era of widespread scepticism about vaccines, the virus itself and authorities, this is not a given. I hope that trust can be repaired, the science is communicated effectively and that the overwhelming majority of people will make a confident, informed decision to get vaccinated.”

“I would like more applications and uses for open-source data”

Davina Tijani, Research Support Analyst, Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU)

“I would like to see better applications and uses of open data in healthcare. The continued usage of open data could lead to a bigger movement of sharing data, building more open data repositories, and using more open-source platforms and software. Doing this will strengthen relationships between agencies, healthcare organisations and institutions. I also believe it will lead to better solutions to global health problems and the development of stronger analytical tools.”

Find out more about the BDAU here.

“I would like safety to be seen as a vital part of any health system”

Alexandra Shaw, Policy Fellow in Global Patient Safety, IGHI

“Patient harm is one of the leading causes of global disease burden and every year millions of patients experience harm or die because of unsafe healthcare, which is often preventable. To build strong and resilient health systems which improve outcomes and provide quality services for patients, safe systems of care should be included in efforts to provide universal health coverage.”

“I would like to see more problem-solving software in healthcare”

Dr Jack Halligan, Policy Fellow in Health Innovation, Centre for Health Policy

“Too often I see one of two problems with software…It’s either slick and user-friendly but doesn’t solve a real problem, such as many clinician-facing apps. Or, it looks like it was developed in the 80s, is clunky but clinicians use it effectively every day. We see this in most, if not all, hospital electronic health records and GP practice management systems. The secret sauce is the ability to do both!”

“I would like more training and support for carers”

Ivor Williams, Senior Design Associate, Helix Centre

“This Christmas – and every day in fact – I would like to see carers of a terminally ill person get all the training and support they might need to help care for their loved ones. Society expects us all to do more, and most of us want to do more to care for dying people, but we don’t have the right tools, skills and training. Maybe Santa – with his exclusive access to every home – could help!”

Read about Ivor’s work in end-of-life care here.

“I would like better mental health support for young people”

Dr Lindsay Dewa, Research Fellow, NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre

“All I want for Christmas is every school, university and workplace to have dedicated mental health and wellbeing support for every young person if, and when, they need it. Young people in particular have had mental health difficulties this year. We need to ensure more is being done to support this group so they have the resources they need through these uncertain times.”

Find out more about Lindsay’s work in young people’s mental health here.

“I would like to see more chemical sensors in robots”

Dr Salzitsa Yordanova Anastasova-Ivanova, Research Fellow, Hamlyn Centre

“I would like to see more chemical and biochemical sensors incorporated and used in healthcare, because there is so much untapped potential here. And I would like to see more functional micro and nanostructures developed for precision medicine. There is so much untapped potential in chemical sensors. It would be an exciting step in the future of robotics.”

“I would like action for a safe climate that also helps our mental health”

Dr Emma Lawrance, Mental Health Innovations Fellow, Centre for Health Policy

“As we are living through a period of huge change, loss, grief, uncertainty and anxiety around the pandemic, the interconnections of our world and how much our actions affect each other have never been more apparent. My wish is that we can acknowledge and understand that it is normal to feel a range of strong emotions in response to our changing world, including climate change. I hope we can better understand and provide space for a healthy processing of this grief, loss and fear that helps us come together and act for the win-win benefits of healthy minds and a healthy planet. I hope 2021 can be a celebration of reconnection with each other and the natural spaces many more people have grown to cherish this year.”

Find out about Emma and the team’s work in mental health and climate change here.

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