NHS underestimates digital revolution

7-day NHS debate underestimates digital revolution around the corner for GP surgeries

As the threat of strikes continue, the impact of ‘anything anywhere’ culture is pushing the NHS in new directions

Doctors will soon be routinely communicating with their patients using a variety of channels and devices, turning the doctor-patient relationship on its head and likely to overshadow the current debate about weekend opening of GP surgeries, according to Outsourcery.

Rather than setting an appointment with a doctor in a linear fashion, a collaborative approach will develop with more open flows of communication and personal health data between patient and doctor, with fewer face-to-face appointments. In this environment of digital transformation, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries are going to need to scale up the use of collaboration tools and to place them on secure platforms from which they can use and share data without compromising doctor patient confidentiality and trust.

Paul Todd, Public Sector spokesperson at Outsourcery comments:

“The debate about the future delivery of healthcare services is based on how the NHS responds to the growing ‘anything, anywhere’ culture that technology has helped create. This has been evidenced by the emergence and rapid adoption of Telecare and Telehealth solutions across the NHS. Furthermore, personal health applications and wearable technology have altered how information is collected and can be shared to aid diagnosis, reducing the unreasonable expectation placed on GPs to have all of the answers from a 15 minute consultation and creating a more collaborative relationship between them and patients."

It is surprising that digital transformation has to date not featured more prominently in the ongoing discussions between the government and doctors on NHS reform.”
Paul Todd, Public Sector Business Development at Outsourcery

Patients can now routinely keep accurate records of health information using one or more of the 165,000 health applications available. Users are kept aware on a daily basis of their heart rate, calorie content, fitness goals and more without having to go for a regular check-up. However, GP surgeries in particular are still catching up to what this means for them in diagnosis and how surgeries operate on a daily basis.

Paul continues:

“A typical interaction with a doctor is centred on a face-to-face appointment, scheduled by a patient. However, as the public become comfortable with monitoring their health, diagnosis can become a more interactive process. Patient data can be transferred direct to the doctor and symptoms discussed using a variety of communication channels that will facilitate early intervention and can reduce the need for regular visits to the doctor’s surgery for some patients. Important in this is gaining and maintaining confidence and trust, having a platform that can keep patient data confidential will be essential in maintaining that trust. The 7-day availability of NHS services will become a lot more three-dimensional than the current discussions going on at present.”

With tight budgets and steep cuts being made to the NHS, health practitioners are under increasing pressure to reduce operating costs but improve the treatment of patients. By deploying technology such as Microsoft’s Skype for Business on secure cloud platforms, both clinicians and patients will be able to efficiently collaborate and communicate across networks as well as significantly reduce both their IT and utilities operating costs.

Paul concludes:

“Ensuring Cloud Service Providers (CSP) achieve CESG Security Principles to protect data sovereignty is a must when dealing with personal medical information. By working with CSP’s that are certified as safe hosts for government data classified as OFFICIAL and OFFICIAL SENSITIVE users can be assured that their patient’s data and communications are secure and protected.”


For more information, contact media@outsourcery.co.uk.