Electronic medical records are still not fully digitised, Machine based AI is still primitive within the public sector and the use of digital twins to optimise ward based performance is still non-existent, unlike its private counterparts. With the increase of everyday smart health equipment such as smart watches and diabetic sensors, surely the digital revolution should be of utmost importance when advancing patient healthcare.
The government however has begun to address this in their recent policy paper, in which they admit they are behind their counterparts not only in Europe, but globally. They accept that they have too many systems that work individually and do not interact, sometimes making patient care difficult. That the research has not been developed into functional architecture within and that they have not taken full advantage of creating partnerships. But what they are doing now is addressing all of these faults, with a 4 point priority plan.
Firstly they plan to implement a better all infrastructure, firstly to enable different NHS systems to communicate with each other, as seen in their WSIC (Whole Systems Integrated Care) case study. They us analytics on top of integrated health and social care information to support both population health and direct care to help identify people who require extra help. This plan also includes measures to aid in safeguarding and cyber security measure to prevent the WannaCry 2017, which would require buying the best technology and enabling cyber security staff technology development.
Secondly The digital services are receiving a huge overhaul, The NHS website is one of the most visited web pages nationally, with over 500 million visits per year. They are currently developing an NHS app to help support patients. They envision digital care as being of pivotal importance. Their priority is to ensure that all patient needs can be met electronically, so that conversations can be had quickly and efficiently thus preventing post delays for patient appointments etc. They plan on backing all innovators who can help progress the digital market and plan to help fund these innovations.
Point three, is innovation, as mentioned the government plan to help innovators succeed. They have just implemented a “world class” ecosystem to help the uk lead in financial tech, and plan to do so in health tech. Hampshire council recently trialled the use of amazon echo in adult social care in partnership with PA consulting. Through the use of Amazon’s alexa, they designed an app that records tasks and reminds the caregiver to on. Tasks ranged from taking medications reminders to enabling audio books to being read to those unable.
The validity of this trail can not be underestimated in regards to patient wellbeing, as this enables patient care obviously, but also acts on decreasing patients feeling isolated and gives assurance to other family members, that loved ones are more adequately cared for.
Their 4th benchmark is for development of skills and the ever changing culture. The government plans on empowering the whole workforce with the skills and technical ability to identify where technology can improve healthcare needs. They plan on recruiting specialists in all areas, and also develop those currently in employment ro drive innovation and enable government adaptability into the digital age.
The government has the resources to to create a digital healthcare system that has the potential to become not only a leader in europe but globally. If they can competently manage demand for digital tech in healthcare and take advantage of all the research becoming readily available then there are no excuses for the UK to fall behind. But as with all governmental policies, most of them only stand whilst the current government is in power. For the UK to truly succeed there has to be an infrastructure placed within, to prevent any advancements being lost or replaced with other initiatives that will not work. If they can successfully implement all 4 points and enable a successful transfer into the healthtech leaders, than the UK will most likely be able to provide the best digital healthcare in the world, but as past experience has taught us, the reality is different.