Viewpoint | 14 Mar 2023

‘Modern healthcare needs the connectivity we all rely on today’

Vodafone's new Head of Centre for Health, a joint partnership with Deloitte, argues for better cooperation between the public and private sectors if we are to create a fully digital healthcare system that is more efficient and achieves better outcomes for patients.

It was a great pleasure speaking with All-Party Parliamentary Group for Healthcare Infrastructure recently about how Vodafone’s healthcare technologies can support digital innovation in the NHS.  

The cross-party group of MPs and Peers seeks to highlight the importance of the physical and digital infrastructure of health and social care. It is extremely encouraging to see senior politicians placing equal importance on these two forms of infrastructure, and it’s clear that the quality of our hospital buildings, broadband and mobile go hand-in-hand.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss innovation in healthcare infrastructure. This gave me an opportunity to outline why, at Vodafone, we think world-class connectivity in healthcare is key to patient experience and outcomes, as well as their access to healthcare. 

I believe the connectivity that we all rely on in our day-to-day lives will be vital for the modern healthcare setting, and this will be increasingly so with the onset of 5G. While patients may expect the healthcare industry to use the same technology they do, this is often not the case. 

Anne-Marie Vine-Lott appointed to lead Vodafone Centre for Health

Vodafone has announced that it has appointed former Oracle Director, Anne-Marie Vine-Lott, as its new Head of Centre for Health, working with Deloitte in the UK market.

Health organisations will each have their own particular needs, but the breadth and flexibility of our technologies means we can innovate at a pace that works for all stakeholders. This will enable more patients to access healthcare digitally, as well as physically, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

We launched The Vodafone Centre for Health with Deloitte to bring together Vodafone’s connected health suite of technologies with Deloitte’s healthcare consulting experience to enable many more people to access healthcare when and where they need it. 

But, as I outlined in Parliament, we can’t do this alone. So, I have four recommendations to help our ambition become a reality: 

Health Connectivity 

It is vital that we get connectivity right in health and care organisations if we are to maximise the potential of digitally-enabled healthcare. Without the right underlying connectivity in place, for example, 5G in every new hospital, there will be no support for the growing demand for bandwidth and reliable connectivity. Clinicians and patients rely on connected devices to give and receive care. This dependency on fast and accurate information makes investing in connectivity one of the most important pieces of healthcare infrastructure. 

Funding & Resources 

While it’s the most obvious of the four recommendations, funding is not just about money, it’s about funding innovation with time and resource. 

One of the biggest challenges we face is gaining access to frontline healthcare staff, who could help us develop solutions to the challenges we face. Their knowledge and insight could help us redevelop the patient experience through each stage in the management of his or her disease, from pre-diagnosis to palliative care. 


As I mentioned previously, we cannot do this alone, so partnerships are hugely important. As a former NHS professional myself, I know there can be all kinds of barriers to change, but reform is more likely if built upon enduring partnerships between NHS organisations and suppliers. I want to hear from both. So, we need a coordinated effort led from the centre. 

A healthy alliance: Vodafone and Deloitte launch virtual healthcare hub

The Vodafone Centre for Health will use connectivity to enable more people across Europe to access healthcare when and where they need it.

I’ve worked in the charitable, as well as the healthcare, sector. My plea is that healthcare providers – from all sectors – work together better.  Establishing some clear, shared templates for how this could happen (for example, establishing guidelines on risk and reward) would be helpful.  We need to do more to build a mixed model of funding so that we garner the best from all sectors and bring them together to support patient care. 

Digital Education 

It is extremely hard to get IT, procurement, and clinicians in the right room at the right time so that everyone can learn and build together. Digital education would be immensely beneficial to demonstrate the art of the possible, without intimidating anyone who might be frightened about new technology and suffering from transformation fatigue. We need to inspire and co-ordinate. 

What next? 

Establishing good health connectivity is the building block for accessing and developing greater innovation in healthcare. The potential is very exciting with use cases, such as using 5G-connected drones to deliver a nutritional package for babies born prematurely, providing a taste of what tomorrow’s healthcare could be like. But to deliver on the full potential of connected healthcare – and to create better healthcare for all – we’ll need help creating the right investment, education, and partnerships.
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