Let’s speed up the transformation of NHS services
Keiron Salt, CIO Health at BT, makes the case for a more rapid digital transformation of the NHS
The NHS is arguably the UK’s greatest asset, but it’s facing major challenges. Patients are constantly demanding more of the service. People are living longer, and a 65-year-old costs over twice as much as the average 30-year-old. And by 2044, a larger chunk of the population will be over 65 – 16.5 million people, three million more than today.
It’s clear that NHS trusts are under pressure to transform patient care, and you’re having to do it on very stretched budgets. Changes are being made, but they’re not happening fast enough. Indeed, chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, has recently outlined the five key things he believes you need to succeed in the long term. And one is a clearer plan to deliver transformation, including moving over to integrated care systems.
Health services are holding back
We’ve been looking into this, too, and our latest research tells the same story. It shows that almost seven out of 10 NHS trusts plan to integrate their IT systems with other local health and care systems within the next couple of years as part of their migration to the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN). But only a minority have a firm plan in place for managing this transition. Seventy five per cent of people believe that one of the top three benefits of HSCN is greater collaboration, but just under half are still at the ‘scoping’ stage and haven’t really moved their plans forward. Ambitions are big, but progress is slow.
The only way the planned technological revolution is going to work is if you fully embrace the opportunities. Keep your eye on the long-term goals and commit to transformational change, because the technology is already here to help you achieve that vision. So why not use it?
Better connections improve everything
If you don’t know where to start, look at the quality of your networks. Better connections make it easier for everyone to be more flexible, efficient and productive. You need broadband that’s robust – able to cope with hundreds of people using it simultaneously without a drop in speed. And mobile networks must offer reliable coverage. So teams can access the information they need from anywhere, saving the time and money they would spend travelling back to the office to catch up with admin.
Embrace innovative technologies
Compared to other services, the NHS’s take-up of the cloud has been relatively slow. But the benefits it brings for better collaboration and flexibility, not to mention security, can’t be ignored. Cloud-based apps and services bring together multi-disciplinary teams, sharing information easily to deliver a joined-up patient experience. And connected medical devices – the Internet of Things – give you a way to capture care information and share it with patients and health professionals in real time.
Start your future now
Health secretary Matt Hancock recently stated that “the biggest risk is not doing digital transformation.” So don’t wait any longer. Empower your frontline staff. Improve your patient care. Maintain your financial stability. And reach your smarter digital future sooner rather than later.
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