BT hires doctors to bolster smart healthcare offering

BT HQ One Braham logo

BT will create a ‘Clinical Advisory Board’ to drive the growth of new connected healthcare technology.

Eight NHS clinicians will join the new division in January, although for some reason BT only named five of them: Dr Peter Ingham, Dr Michael Quinn, Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby, Dr Sandeep Bhansal and Dr Mateen Jiwani.

They are there, it seems, to provide a bridge between the techies dreaming up bleeding edge smart healthcare products and services somewhere in a BT basement, and the NHS. Presumably in order to make sure the gadgets are properly aligned with real world issues facing frontline doctors and nurses working in hospitals.

“I am delighted that BT has secured a group of top-class clinicians from the NHS with hands on experience of change management, technology and new care models,” said Professor Sultan Mahmud, Healthcare Director at BT’s Enterprise unit.

“This demonstrates BT’s commitment in supporting the digital transformation of the NHS, which is critical for its future sustainability. As a national enabler for the UK, it’s vital that we have experts on board who can advocate for our working heroes of the NHS as well as the health and wellbeing of our citizens who rely on the NHS day in, day out.”

BT has a history of working with the NHS on tech projects. In February, whilst the covid vaccination rollout was ramping up in the UK, it announced that BT engineers and IT experts had been deployed to 110 NHS Vaccination centres to plug in high-speed fibre and wifi connectivity.

Around the same time BT CEO Philip Jansen gave an interview to The Mail in which he sketched out the company’s ambitions to me more active in the digital healthcare space: “What we need to do is find a way where there is accelerated take-up of some of these technologies to get the benefits that are so obviously there,” he said.

While the NHS has in one way shape or form always been under pressure, the era of covid now means the ability of the entire country to operate normally, or even for families to see each other, is now conditional on the ability of hospitals to keep up with incoming patients.

The NHS also famously struggles with tech innovation. But BT is tied to the public sector in a way other telecoms firms are not, which perhaps makes it particularly well suited to working with the NHS on digital transformation.

BT’s Clinical Advisory Board could provide proper alignment on healthcare problems and technology solutions, and avoid the broad stroke, sci-fi sounding 5G, IoT and AI concepts that sometimes accompany pitches for the smart city.

One comment

  1. Avatar Tim Rodgers 22/12/2021 @ 3:15 pm

    BT will face real difficulty in monetising these projects given its historical poor performance in IT consultancy and delivery. I’ve worked on BTs previous major NHS IT contract, I can’t imagine BT made any money on that given the number of delays, setbacks, and expensive contractors we had to bring in to finish that job.

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