The King Fund’s Digital Health and Care Congress provided a fantastic opportunity for key decision makers and digital leaders to understand in greater detail the next steps in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, which aims to harness technology and innovation to transform health and social care services.
As people continue to live longer with more complex needs, the NHS is looking to make positive changes to reduce pressures on acute and community services. However, very few trusts and CCGs have taken the necessary steps to reform their IT infrastructure to meet increasing demand for more ‘connected’ services.
NHS Call to Action
While presenting his keynote speech at Digital Health and Care Congress, Rob Shaw, interim chief executive for NHS Digital said: “What we are here to do is provide better care for patients and the citizens, because what we need to do is take people out of the system and alleviate pressure. We have to stop seeing health and social care as two separate issues and start making it so that standards get adopted and suppliers work to those standards to enable interoperability with other systems, because unless these are built secure by design, resilient and scalable then we won’t be able to keep public trust.”
As part of the drive for a more integrated approach to patient care, the government created Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to bring together care providers and the organisations funding care, and announced an additional £85m funding package to drive development and uptake of new digital technologies in the NHS, with £35m assigned to a Digital Health Catalyst available to innovative organisations. It is the prime opportunity for the NHS and other social care services to implement new, progressive technology.
Making a Difference, One Step at a Time
Given the granularity of the healthcare IT infrastructure, implementing a single platform to manage every element is unrealistic. Instead, they should consult with a number of skilled, specialist organisations who can take control of one aspect while working seamlessly with other providers.
While at the event, Kirona’s Nick Shipton (Sales Director), and Mathew Wilson (Sales Executive) presented a talk on applying field service technology within community health and social care.
While it faces its own specific challenges, the NHS can learn a lot from other sectors in terms of implementing and integrating technology for improved productivity, increased utilisation, reduced paperwork and real time workforce visibility. Utilities, social housing, construction, local government have all invested in technology to reduce costs, and deliver high standard services to customers. For example, Kirona’s Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS) – which can be integrated with patient record systems – can enable auto-scheduling of community based health and social care teams, deliver greater visibility with real-time status updates, live tracking and alerts. Kirona’s Job Manager mobile workforce management application can also connect community based workers with centralised teams, which means district nurses or reablement teams can communicate seamlessly with office-based coordinators.
Change is inevitable as the NHS reaches tipping point, which means it is the perfect opportunity for decision makers to explore innovative, results driven technology that can increase productivity, reduce paperwork, improve the quality of patient care and deliver demonstrable, cashable savings.
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