Insights

Peter O'Hara: 2 minute read

The NHS at 70

Technology is essential to the future of the NHS.

5th July 1948.

It is a day that is etched in the hearts of every citizen in the UK. It is the day that the NHS was born. It is a day that universal healthcare was provided for all in the UK.

In the 70 years since its inception, it has come across many challenges, such as increases in population, new diseases; demanding new screening techniques and most recently, funding. Currently, the NHS has debts of more than £2billion and money has been promised to plug this deficit.

The NHS is an institution to be proud of and one that is the envy of the world over. However, there is no doubting that it is an institution that is dangerously underfunded, with trusts across the country overspending in the last two years. Efficiencies and cost savings are the silver bullets that the NHS needs but where will they find them?

Efficiencies can save the NHS

Save the NHS

Protect our NHS

We promise billions in new financing

 

Phrases such as these dominate the political climate in the UK. The NHS has become a hot potato that is passed from Politician to Politician, with money promised but then quickly swallowed up to plug existing gaps. The NHS needs to find the efficiencies that will address the gaps in spending on a long-term basis and not in a short-term, political gain basis.

Technology that takes a problem such as Delayed Transfers of Care and enables health and social care to work more collaboratively is essential. These solutions break down silos and mean that in this case, those who are medically able to be released, are. The patient is able to get where they need to be quicker and is, therefore, more comfortable, the hospital is able to free up bed space and the local authority is able to get the value from their investments in bulk bookings within care homes.

Currently, the figure for Delayed Transfers of Care stands at £900 million per year, that is lost during the process. Even being able to save 10% of this figure would create a real boost for the services’ struggling finances. The era of person-centred care is here and old technology, based on tech that was around ten years ago will not cut it and be person-centred. The words mean that throughout the process the patient’s wishes are paramount, and getting them to where they need to be, as quickly as possible is essential.

Technology that safeguards children before they need to be admitted into hospital is becoming more commonplace as is the desire to share information. A multi-agency system that displays notes as to a vulnerable child and his interactions with frontline services can help to avoid tragedies such as Baby P. These systems provide access to each service, such as Police, Fire, Social Services and Health. Each area can then add notes of concern about the child to complete the jigsaw and let those who need to know that this child is in danger.

Another example of where technology can improve the efficiency of the NHS and make tangible savings is citizen engagement. By adding self-assessment tools online, you are able to give citizens an indication of their symptoms and prevent some from coming in unnecessarily. You can also extend this technology via services such as SKYPE and get a diagnosis whilst online. Services such as ‘GP on hand’ are trialling this service and the early results are promising, with overwhelming enthusiasm from the general public.

Easy and convenient access to services is the promise that technology brings along with it. By embracing it, the NHS will ensure that it remains standing as a pillar of virtue in society for generations to come.

Talk to us
We are proud to have worked with the wider NHS family for more than 27 years. We are proud to be helping them embrace the promise of digital technology and the efficiencies it will bring. If you would like to speak to us about a project that you have in mind or simply talk to us about the NHS and how we feel technology is integral to its future, then please drop is a line and we would be happy to chat.