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The future of health care is digital: what will it take for technology to finally fulfil its potential? With Professor Robert Wachter MD

Tuesday 31 October 2023, 11.00–12.30

About 1 mins to read
Download the slides and watch the video below

Technology is repeatedly cited as having the power to save and transform the NHS. Government and national NHS leaders believe the service is now in a prime position to make technologies such as AI and robotics available quickly. Today’s rapidly accelerating technological development may offer an answer to the huge pressures facing the NHS. But such high hopes for innovation are not new.

So, what will it take for technology to finally fulfil its potential to help the NHS meet today’s rising care needs, reduce waiting lists and improve patient experience?

Watch our event with Professor Robert Wachter MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California and former chair of the 2016 National Advisory Group on Health Information Technology in England. Professor Wachter led a debate (with guest speakers) exploring whether we are now on the cusp of a technological revolution that could transform NHS care, and how to make this a reality.

The event was chaired by Dr Malte Gerhold, Director of Improvement and Innovation at the Health Foundation.


The future of health care is digital: what will it take for technology to finally fulfil its potential?


Robert M. Wachter, MD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Author of 300 articles and 6 books, Wachter coined the term “hospitalist” in 1996 and is often considered the “father” of the hospitalist field, the fastest growing specialty in the history of American medicine. He is past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine, past chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. 

In 2015, Modern Healthcare magazine ranked him as the most influential physician-executive in the U.S. His 2015 book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, was a New York Times science bestseller. In 2015-16, he chaired a commission (“The Wachter Report”) advising England’s National Health Service on its digital strategy; the report led to the launch of the both the NHS Digital Academy and its “Digital Exemplars,” and it influenced several billion pounds of NHS expenditures. In 2020-23, Wachter’s tweets on Covid-19 were viewed more than 500 million times by 275,000 followers and served as a trusted source of information on the clinical, public health, and policy issues surrounding the pandemic.

Headshot of  Robert Wachter


Rishi Das-Gupta is Chief Executive of the Health Innovation Network. He has worked to improve healthcare, patient experience and outcomes for over 20 years in a variety of roles focused on shaping and implementing government policy, working with health and care providers and redesigning services. He is passionate about the use of technology to enable clinical and operational change and to empower patients to manage their own conditions. 

Rishi’s experience spans UK and US healthcare systems and he is a fellow of the Sciana programme collaborating with German and Swiss healthcare leaders. Prior to his current role he has held executive positions at NHS trusts as CITO, Director of Innovation and Director of Operations, and has worked as a medical doctor. Rishi also has experience working as a strategy consultant at Oliver Wyman and McKinsey and Company. In addition to his primary medical qualification (M.B.,B.S.). Rishi holds an M.A. in law (University of Cambridge) and an M.B.A. (London Business School).

Headshot of Rishi Das-Gupta

Isabel is an experienced healthcare technology innovator and purpose-driven entrepreneur, committed to ensuring innovations reach their full potential to improve human health and improve societal outcomes.

In 2016, Isabel founded Immersive Rehab, a digital therapeutics startup focused on creating engaging and personalised neurorehabilitation programmes using virtual reality with the aim to improve patient outcomes and to enhance patient assessments by healthcare professionals. Her own rehabilitation journey after an accident led to the creation of her purpose-driven startup in patient care.

Isabel has also led a number of strategic research and technology transfer projects at Imperial College London and University College London, she has been in charge of global innovation and policy projects at several international nonprofits, NGOs and intergovernmental organisations like UNESCO and the Global Disability Innovation Hub, and has worked in academia as a scientist and teaching fellow. Isabel is currently advising purpose-driven organisations of all sizes - with a particular focus on healthcare technology - on their business, innovation and product strategy.

With a background in Electro-Mechanical Engineering (MSc) and as a Biomedical Engineering Scientist (PhD), Isabel is passionate about healthcare technologies, digital health, assistive technologies, immersive technologies and its applications in healthcare, using tech for good, social entrepreneurship and innovation, and promoting diversity in science & tech. 

Headshot of Isabel Van De Keere


Malte Gerhold joined the Health Foundation in May 2022 as Director of Innovation and Improvement.

Malte leads the Foundation’s work to support radical innovation and improvement in health and care services, providing insights, practical resources and funding to enable change, including through new technologies and data. He also oversees the Foundation's strategic partnerships in this space, including the Q CommunityTHIS Institute and IMPACT Centre.

He was previously Chief Integrated Care Officer at Birdie, a digital startup helping to reinvent the way we age, where he led its collaboration across social care and the NHS. Before that he was Executive Director of Strategy and Intelligence at the Care Quality Commission, leading on its methodology, analytics and communications, including its regulatory approach to new innovations and improvement. He has also lived and worked in Sierra Leone, and in the UK he worked at the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, the Department of Health, and Accenture.  

He is a member of the Sciana Health Leaders Network, and a Fellow of the RSA. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the London School of Economics and a Masters and PhD from the University of Oxford.

Image of Malte Gerhold

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