The NHS has recognised the need for digitalisation to provide their services in a modern way, providing faster, safer and more convenient care.
Their Long-Term Plan concerning digitalisation will increase the range of digital health tools and services in the NHS.
Allowing people to seek information and support online reduces the need for unnecessary face-to-face care. It also means the NHS can give people ongoing support to help them manage their health and wellbeing needs.
Recently, the NHS has introduced an e-Referral Service, which has been integrated into the NHS app to make managing referrals easier.
Research has shown when patients book their own appointments, the ‘did not attend’ rate can reduce by up to half, so patients are treated quickly while practices don’t need to refer patients again.
Martin O’Keeffe, Senior Clinical Lead at NHS Digital said: “We’ve put the power back into patients’ hands, giving them another digital route to book and manage their own hospital appointments.”
Not only is the NHS investing in their app services, but they are also investing in improvements to their IT systems and in technological development.
With a number of practical priorities driving this digital transformation, it is clear this move to technology is critical in supporting the NHS.
These priorities include, but aren’t limited to:
- Creating straightforward digital access to NHS services – this will help patients and carers manage their health.
- Ensuring clinicians can access and interact with patient records and care plans, regardless of where they are.
- Protecting patients’ privacy and giving them control over their medical records.
- Encouraging a world-leading health IT industry in England with a supportive environment for software developers and innovators.
What needs to be done?
Adding to these priorities, the NHS has set out their goals in terms of digitalising the service.
They will provide digital services and tools to give people more control over their own health and the care they receive from the NHS. Furthermore, they want to extend to everyone the NHS App as a new digital ‘front door’ to give people secure digital access to their own medical record.
In order to free time up for staff to see patients, they will give health and care staff the technology they need to help them complete administrative tasks more quickly.
Finally, they will set standards that keep information secure. This is to ensure NHS IT systems talk to each other to provide health and care staff with complete access to joined-up patient records.
Along with the e-Referral Service which has recently been announced, mums-to-be have benefited from digitalisation in the NHS. They have been able to have real-time access to their maternity records, blood test results, appointment reminders and information on antenatal classes. This was using BadgerNet Maternity Notes App at Gateshead Health NHS Trust.