Our 'Quick Chat' series sees our director Ben Pearce speak with leaders in the culture and care sectors. This week: Alan Rosenbach talks to us about health tech and the future of care...

Who are you, what do you do, and why do you do it?

My name is Alan Rosenbach. I have had a lifelong career working as a public servant. Since my retirement from a national organisation in March 2015, I am involved in a number of paid and voluntary roles in the health and care sectors. I have always believed that a strong health and care sector that ensures health and wellbeing is a key measure of how much we value each other personally and collectively.

A sketched portrait of Alan Rosenbach by Paintings in Hospitals director Ben Pearce.

Alan Rosenbach as sketched by Ben

I'm keen to ask you about technology. Tech has been moving so quickly. We've recently modernised Paintings in Hospitals own digital infrastructure and working – but it is clear we are on the cusp of great change again with things like blockchain and AI becoming mainstream. What do you think will be the biggest change tech will bring to care in the next five years?

The unlocking of the human genome will be the most significant change to health care with both prevention and treatment being entirely personalised. The use of wearable technologies will monitor health and wellbeing and big data will be able to find patterns of behaviour that can be used to manage care and support.

We have digital artwork (animations) in our own collection already – though will always be associated with a more analogue type of artwork through our name – paintings. How important with the amount of information we digest through screens and tech these days is it for people’s health to switch off – and maybe go back to traditional media like print and oil paint?

There is a place for both digital and traditional media presentations. One should not replace the other.

...it is entirely possible to predict which works of art are correlated with recovery from medical conditions...

Could tech like AI help us identify for example which works of art are more effective with recovery from particular medical conditions?

Yes, in short. If there is data captured that can be analysed then it is entirely possible to predict which works of art are correlated with recovery from medical conditions and if any contribute to slower recovery. If we analyse the data that we hold about responses to art we have placed in locations and analyse data held by others then we can predict which artworks are better correlated with recovery by condition. It may not always be recovery but more to do with art and mood in the case of dementia.

What steps do you think that third sector organisations working in health (and arts in health) should be taking now, tech-wise, to better support the NHS?

All organisations should be capturing relevant digitised data that can be analysed using AI methodology. The purpose is always to support health and care gain. Data collection is inexpensive. Third sector organisations should be partnering with tech organisations to trial AI. The third sector is less risk averse than the NHS and councils and potentially less bureaucratic. The obvious focus for use of AI in this sector is around integrated care and how AI can be used to predict maximised pathways and processes.

Alan holds a number of Non-Executive roles for health and care providers in England. He has previously worked for the Local Government Association, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and the NHS. Alan also sits on the Paintings in Hospitals Engagement Committee.

Alan and Ben are both on Twitter: @AlanRosenbach, @HighStreetBen