Gajus - Fotolia

Use technology to improve NHS, say patients

Almost 70% of the population believes technology should be used in the NHS to improve patient outcomes and efficiency, says Trustmarque

Two-thirds of UK adults think the NHS should be using more technology to increase efficiency and improving the patient experience, according to research.

A survey by end-to-end service provider Trustmarque and research firm YouGov found the NHS is not currently on track to reach its target of providing all UK adults with access to electronic patient records by the end of 2015.

Electronic patient records

By the end of April 2015, 95% of UK citizens were able to access their electronic health records either online or in their GP’s office, with the number increasing to 97% by May 2015.

But many of those asked did not know whether or not they had electronic access to their medical records, and only 4% claimed they knew how to access their health records online.

“The NHS is under constant pressure to reduce costs while, at the same time, ensuring clinical excellence. There is no doubt technology can play a significant role in meeting these objectives,” said Angelo Di Ventura, director at Trustmarque.

“Implementing and managing the technology that underpins the transformation of the NHS is no simple task. Data should be available in different formats, for different users, in different locations. 

“However, many NHS systems have not been set up for this type of access, preventing health professionals from accessing the information they want, when they need it,” he said.

The NHS is also undergoing digital transformation, with health secretary Jeremy Hunt vowing the NHS will be paperless by 2018.

NHS interoperability

This increase in paperless initiatives should force healthcare providers to reduce redundant processes, as well as increase interoperability between different healthcare providers, such as GPs, hospitals and emergency services.

The survey results also highlighted the need for interoperability between healthcare systems, with 28% of people saying they or someone they knew had received delayed care due to lack of information sharing between healthcare professionals.

Almost 40% said they had to provide healthcare professionals with the same information more than once over the past year.

The most popular suggested use of technology for the NHS was for appointment management, with 22% stating they still received appointment reminders by post.

Virtual consultations were also high on the list, with 50% of people stating they would like to have a video appointment online and 72% saying they would like to use digital channels to communicate with healthcare professionals outside of scheduled appointments.

Mobile, Wi-Fi and wearables

Only one in 10 people used a mobile application to help with health monitoring, but 76% thought the NHS should provide health applications or offer a list of NHS-approved apps for monitoring health, allowing users to fully utilise technologies such as Apple’s HealthKit or fitness trackers.

A majority of those surveyed also believed embracing wearables would improve patient care, with half suggesting they would be ideal for monitoring elderly or vulnerable patients and almost 40% saying wearables would help to monitor a patient’s diet and exercise.

The NHS is aiming to provide free Wi-Fi to all patients and increase patient monitoring technologies by the end of 2020. It estimates better use of technology and data could save the organisation a third of the £22bn budget deficit predicted for the health service in five years’ time.

It has been widely discussed how the ageing population will require a different breed of preventative – rather than reactive – healthcare, which could be assisted by wearable monitoring.

Electronics equipment maker Philips recently paired with Salesforce to develop a support platform for internet-connected devices to support healthcare professionals when using them in the future. This should lead to fewer people in hospitals by enabling patients to be remotely assessed and care to be prioritised.

Read more about NHS IT

  • The NHS calls for innovators to develop technologies and digital services to improve care for patients and save money for taxpayers.
  • Public participation should be used to drive big data projects in the healthcare industry, according to a report.

Read more on Healthcare and NHS IT

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Trustmarque’s research here highlights a number of key considerations for the NHS at present – from increasing efficiencies to improving the patient experience, technology has a major role to play in the future of UK healthcare. But the positive changes technology can spark won’t happen overnight. Instead, the key to success lies in taking on the process one step at a time.

For example, attempting to migrate all paper practices online at once is likely to result in more confusion and prove damaging to productivity. In many cases, it’s less about being completely paperless and more about functioning with less paper.

As Angelo says, the NHS is under constant pressure to meet digital transformation goals (such as being paperless by 2018), and a fundamental first step towards fulfilling this is to ensure the security and confidentiality of new digital documents. The provision of a secure managed print service – and the creation of digital repositories for patient information – can help achieve this.

At Xerox, we are working with parts of the NHS to achieve exactly that. Take our recent contract win with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) as an example. While initial roll-out looks solely at printing paper documents more efficiently and securely, we will also be responsible for identifying new ways to transform how the NHSBSA handles internal information – whether in print or, where appropriate, by migrating processes to a digital format.

Whichever way we look at it, technology as a whole is certainly well on the way to supporting the NHS in achieving continued digital transformation in years to come.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchCIO

SearchSecurity

SearchNetworking

SearchDataCenter

SearchDataManagement

Close