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Health minister Jeremy Hunt has asked digital pioneer Martha Lane Fox to develop a proposal for digital uptake in healthcare.
The minister said Lane Fox will present ideas about how to increase the uptake of digital innovation across the NHS to the NHS National Information Board.
“If we are to embrace the potential for technology to shift power to patients, we need patients to be willing and able to harness that technology,” said Hunt.
“Digital inclusion is as vital in healthcare as everywhere else – not least because some of the greatest impacts of new technology in health is about the most vulnerable patients,” he said.
In the future, patients should be able to use technology to have a greater say in their healthcare, with electronic health records marking the start of this transition.
Hunt hopes to focus on three main areas: Giving patients the information they need to make an informed decision about where they book their care, choice control over end-of-life care and maternity services, and an increase in digital capabilities through the organisation.
Hunt highlighted that, since 97% of GPs began offering patients online access to their medical record summary, 2.5 million patients have activated the service.
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“Heart rates and blood pressure will no longer be simply a matter for the doctor – patients will monitor them too,” said Hunt.
“Data sharing between doctor and patient means power sharing too. Intelligent transparency creates intelligent patients with healthier outcomes,” he said.
It has been almost a year since the launch of myNHS, which allows patients to assess the quality of NHS services. This was the beginning of the minister’s plan towards “intelligent transparency” in care.
A preventative approach to care should be the next step for the NHS if it hopes to scale for the growing population, according to Hunt.
The NHS needs a vision in which it moves towards “holistic integrated care” and away from the current disjointed care model, said Hunt.
“If we truly want to change from a bureaucratic to a patient-centric system, the NHS needs a profound transformation in its culture,” he said.
In early 2015, Hunt highlighted the importance of digital development to cope with the aging population, which will soon require a different kind of healthcare than can be offered.