During the last 12 months, 3000 GP practices were connected to over 25 million UK patients in a new way, by offering free NHS Wi-Fi. That’s an astonishing move for a healthcare industry often seen as slow, cumbersome and highly risk adverse to anything ‘innovative’. So what is going on with digital health in the NHS?
Digital technology offers the capability to do three things;
o To disseminate and manage information rapidly
o To collate and analyse masses of data rapidly
o To synergise both of these to deliver new, exciting and disruptive ways of delivering a service at vastly reduced cost.
So no wonder that the NHS, struggling to keep up with the demands of an aging population and reducing budget are looking to rapidly deploy digital health solutions which can have a real effect on patient outcomes, and fiscal demands.
Just as impressive as the medical benefits however, are the host of new, ‘human-centric’ capabilities that this connected era is ushering in. Wi-Fi not only means that patients can be guided ‘there and then’ to access digital health tools and information to help look after themselves better, but also to share social connectivity with the outside world, friends, and family.
Further roll out is planned to a further 33 NHS Trusts before the end of March 2018, and to then Wi-Fi enable patients in acute, community and mental health hospitals by the end of the year.
It’s all part of a bigger change in the NHS. NHS Digital are the national information and technology partner, whose vision is ‘to harness the power of information and technology to improve health and care, making ‘a joined-up, digital health service a reality.’
NHS Digital’s programmes include (predictably) Self Care and Prevention, Urgent and Emergency Care, Elective Care and Data Outcomes. But also ‘Digital Medicines’ which aims to address the age old medicines adherence problem, by ‘giving patients greater choice and added convenience…and improved prescribing accuracy’.
Electronic Prescription Services will be just one way in which services can be optimised and digital health solutions applied across the pharmacy supply-chain to ‘get the most out of medicines’ – value creation beyond the mere cost-per-pill solution of the past, and solutions which would have been unthinkable only a decade ago.
But on a personal note, what is so exciting for me, is the ‘softening’ and opening up of the NHS through mainstream digital health technology. In our interactions with the NHS Digital team I have found them to be refreshingly welcoming, and open to dialogue about how
SMEs with digital health solutions, such as Medsmart®, could make a real difference at a national level, embracing real world data from an ‘in the wild’ supplier.
At a recent national NHS conference about ‘Resilience in the NHS’, Jenny Campbell gave one definition of resilience as ‘the ability to find help, strength and resource’ in times of need.
In this time of need for the NHS, it is great to know that NHS Digital are not only implementing new digital health technologies, but reaching out to both patients and to SMEs outside the traditional NHS system, to really create the chance to ‘join-up’ the healthcare system by re-connecting with it’s most important assets – it’s users.
Jenny Campbell – https://www.lifetimeswork.com/index.php?id=37
Dr Scott Crae MRCVS – CMO Talking Medicines Limited
Read more at Talking Medicines Digital Health Blog