60 seconds with...Dr Mike Patterson

Nightingale caught up with Emergency Medicine consultant Dr Mike Patterson to talk Big Data, healthcare analytics and patient safety...

What led you to work as an Intensive Care & Emergency Medicine doctor? 

I was always interested in how the human body works, and in this job I get to apply all this learning at a time when patients are in most danger. It is such a rewarding environment to practice medicine.

What are the biggest challenges facing healthcare today?

There is a massive strain on resources at the moment; the Nightingale project looks to lessen the impact of illness on patients and the healthcare system. By reliably identifying deterioration early, we can intervene before patients are in danger, reduce the likelihood of invasive procedures and allow patients to spend less time in hospital.

How can using data through wearable technology transform healthcare?

Data can provide predictive systems to assist healthcare professionals and carers. It’s truly amazing - we have unlimited opportunities to measure, in real time, how the human body responds to illness.

How can applying the principles of engineering & design bring better care to patients?

By collecting data in a smart way, using easy to wear monitors, we can keep patients feeling safe while taking the burden off carers and allow them to concentrate on other aspects of care.

How does your experience as an Emergency Doctor inform your role on the Nightingale project?

I am used to managing risk as part of a large team in patients who are unstable and can deteriorate rapidly, often many patients at once. I want to help develop a system that engages patients and carers with the team, ensuring that they feel safe, and knowing that their voice is heard.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

In a job that requires you to make quick decisions based on limited information, the best advice I got was “always be prepared to be wrong, and always forgive yourself being wrong.”

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be doing?

I’d love to say I would be working in the creative arts, but I suspect I would have ended up in sales or advertising!

What can’t you live without?

I’m sad to say my phone; I left it at home by mistake last week, felt liberated for about half an hour and then terrified for the rest of the day!