Trendy new gadgets, such as Fitbit exercise monitors, personalised DNA tests and sophisticated health apps, could ‘overwhelm’ people with health data, says the Royal College of Surgeons.
This vast amount of information threatens to cause people undue alarm, triggering unnecessary visits to already-straining A&E units and GP surgeries.
The criticism is a major challenge to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has made championing technology his key priority since he started the job in July. Richard Kerr, chairman of the Royal College of Surgeons’ commission on the future of surgery, said NHS services will need to change to support patients overwhelmed by the new technology.
He said the report, due to be published later this year, will warn that while new technologies will offer better opportunities to diagnose and treat patients before their illnesses become severe, there is also the potential for them to cause patients unnecessary alarm.