NHS doctor using tablet

Digital transformation of the NHS as it turns 70

Jodie Parnham Healthcare

Today the UK celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service (NHS), the largest publicly funded healthcare service in the world.

However, the debate on whether the NHS can survive in it’s current form continue, given the stress from an ageing population, struggle for staff, increase in demand on services, increase in costs, and the advances in medicine, technology and surgery.

The digital transformation of the NHS

The NHS Confederation put together a ’10 steps towards a new plan for NHS England’. The plan discusses healthcare becoming more patient centred, with a greater focus on primary care, community health services and social care, all of which can keep people in their own homes.

Technology continues to advance, with Telemedicine, AI, health monitors etc. all making it more possible than ever to give more people access to healthcare from their own homes. Video Conferencing / Teleconsultations can give people who live in rural areas, are travelling, can’t get time off work, are too ill/injured to travel etc. much easier access to physicians.

The current system is struggling to cope with rising demands. By investing in technology and new models of care, we can reduce the pressure on hospitals and GP surgeries, reduce the spread of infections in waiting rooms, save time and money on people missing appointments, allow physicians to see more patients, reduce waiting times, provide greater access to training and viewing surgeries, attending cross site trust or MDT meetings and more. (Read more about the benefits of telemedicine on our blog). 

Another section of the plan discussed the work that needs to be put into mental health services and treating it equally to physical health by investing more and getting people treated quicker and more effectively. Video has the ability to transform mental health services. In an article by the Independent in February 2018, they stated that many patients were waiting over 6 months for appointments – with some even waiting up to 2 years. Many mental health trusts weren’t even keeping track of how long patients were waiting. Patients waiting this long for appointments, who many urgently require medication or therapy, could result in serious consequences. By utilising video conferencing (tele-psychiatry), waiting times could massively reduce, giving patients the instant access to professionals they desperately need.

 

Managing the demand for healthcare

The NHS is constantly under immense pressure, in February this year Nottingham’s QMC was put on ‘black alert’ after it had more than 600 patients arriving in A&E despite the department being designed to handle 350. Many people rush to A&E, when it’s often unnecessary, because they’re concerned and don’t want to wait potentially week’s for an appointment with their GP.

Telemedicine can be utilised in emergencies, giving patients instant access to a physician, who can then assess the patient and decide if they need to visit a hospital, GP etc. Along with teleconsultations which can reduce waiting times as hospitals and GP surgeries, giving patients appointments within days, or potentially hours.

As mentioned earlier, the current system is struggling to cope with rising demands, but by investing in technology and new models of care, the NHS can transform to meet these demands.

 

Questmark

We’re a supplier of secure telemedicine and tele-consultation solutions, from large setups for multi-disciplinary team meetings, to our completely portable cloud based application. We develop, deliver and maintain innovative solutions that enhance the delivery of healthcare. We believe that one solution does not suit everyone and will tailor a package to meet your organisation’s requirements.

Our mission is to put the needs of our users as the core of what we do by ensuring our services are easy to use, easy to adopt, and easy to deploy. We do this through continually developing our portfolio to aid customer benefits and pre-empt customer needs.

Find out more on our website here.

 

Questmark are delighted to have won the ‘Collaboration with the NHS’ award at the 2018 Medilink East Midlands business awards for our work with video conferencing within the NHS. You can read more about it here

 

10 steps towards a new plan for NHS England – http://www.nhsconfed.org/-/media/Confederation/Files/Publications/Documents/10-steps-towards-a-new-plan-NHS-England.pdf