NHS must utilise advances in technology or will be playing catch up in the healthcare industry
12 Sep 2017
An article by Richard Vize published in the Guardian on Friday September 8th 2017, makes some interesting statements regarding the adoption (or lack of it) in NHS and primary healthcare. Vize commentates on the UK wide inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who have vowed inspect all online pharmacies by the end of the calendar year. So far, the reports have been heavily focused around the technology being used by healthcare industry players and how technology can be better utilised to improve the safety of healthcare services in the UK.
Vize claims “Online services are challenging our primary care model. People fed up with having to take half a day off work for a few minutes’ consultation are using them in huge numbers, and GPs in clinics need to respond. As a start, consultations should be conducted remotely if that is the patient’s choice”. While some healthcare providers have acted very quickly to work with the CQC to substantially improve the safety of their online services with the implementation of new technologies.
The governance surrounding the NHS around this subject could be called to be re-evaluated in order to speed up the adoption of smart devices and applications. This would give the NHS a better opportunity of operating in parallel with other healthcare providers. The rate of adoption of technology in the NHS in combated by its own policies of slow and careful implementation of as opposed to the world of technology itself which is more of a competition of who can get the next best thing out the quickest. The aspect of list-based general practice will be scrutinised as the use of smart devices are patient services are being used ever more frequently such as Doctor’s using Whatsapp to communicate with each other. The primary concern when using such applications is patient data security.
There have also been trials throughout the UK on low priority 999 calls using Skype and Facetime for distance consultations, due to services being overwhelmed
Thousands of doctors are currently supplying their expertise to online services and if the NHS fails to adopt a similar strategy to embrace the benefits of tech in primary healthcare, they may well be playing catch up in the long-term. However Vize does highlight the NHS apps library which consists of apps such as Evergreen Life, a personal health record app that stores your health information in one place and Sugar Smart, allowing patients to monitor their daily sugar in take via the app.