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The world is in the middle of a digital revolution – new technology is shaping and evolving business’ and industries all over the planet. From travel and retail to the music industry and newspapers, technology is forcing industries across the planet to either embrace technology and thrive or ignore technology and die.
In 2014, the Secretary of State for Health – Jeremy Hunt – declared that he wanted the NHS to be a “world class showcase of what innovation can achieve” promising patients “personalised, 21st century healthcare” and slowly but surely Jeremy Hunts dream is coming into fruition.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last Friday (22nd January), NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens is set to launch the first wave of NHS innovation ‘Test Beds’.
These collaborations between the NHS and various other innovators aim to harness and use technology in order to drastically improve patient health care and the health service.
Other plans announced by Simon Stevens included:
- Patients with diabetes in the West of England being equipped with remote monitoring and coaching technology to allow them to better self-manage their condition;
- Older patients in Rochdale who are most at risk of critical health events being identified using data analysis, and supported to use tele-care and remote devices in their homes so that their doctors can provide timely and tailored help as soon as they need it, and;
- People in Birmingham at risk of serious mental illness will be able to make use of technology and apps to manage their condition, linked to a hub which can dispatch the right specialist staff at the right time to help if a crisis looks likely.
According to Simon Stevens the plans outlined are just the beginning of the future for the NHS.
Innovators in the field of digital healthcare such as the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) are collaborating with one another in order to change and improve healthcare quality; cost effectiveness and access through the use of information technology. HIMSS Europe hold a number of key events throughout the year across different corners of the globe where they invite entrepreneurs and businesses to showcase their initiatives and offer help and advice. The main aim many of these healthcare innovators have is to support the healthcare industry and improve the services the industry offers.
The future of affordable and quality healthcare – specifically in relation to the NHS – depends on how well dental services, hospitals and GP surgeries are able to adapt and use technology to best support patient needs as well as ensuring suitable cost effectiveness.
Modern digital technology is already changing the playing field throughout British GP surgeries and hospitals. In 2014 the NHS introduced ways in which patients could communicate with their GPs online. Patients are now able to book appointments with their GP online as well as being able to order repeat prescriptions and find their medical records online – a paperless health care system is what many countries, including Britain and its NHS is striving for. The advancement of technology togeather with the ideas of innovators are making the NHS paperless dream a reality one day at a time.
However, modernising does take time – according to a recent survey of GP patients undetaken by NHS England, only 29.3% of patients are aware that they can book GP appointments online whilst as little as 6.5% of them actually partake in booking their appointments over the internet. Although, these figures are on the increase from last year. The NHS is used by a variety of different people from young to old so it is vital that technology innovations such as online bookings are communicated publicly for a sustained amount of time in order for these innovations to be effective.
One of the utmost important aspects of a persons life is their health and well-being – it is imperative that the brilliance of technology helps the fields of business and industry to become brilliant too -mainly for patients and customers – the people; but also for themselves. Health services for patients should be free at the point of use, hitherto the right to health is a human right. The people at the forefront of creating and modernising a new healthcare system must put patient needs at the top of the order whilst maintaining that healthcare workers are fully up to date with the changes that are taking place. Less waiting lines, a paperless healthcare system and a record level of patient happiness are just a few of the objectives that digital healthcare entrepreneurs across the world are hoping to achieve. A renaissance in healthcare is taking place and it’s all thanks to digital technology which, togeather with the innovators are behind the front window of a space shuttle flying into a new age of healthcare technology.