What does great digital health and care look like to you?

The NHS is a source of national pride – criticising it can feel unpatriotic. Yet it is far from perfect (despite the efforts of many of my friends and colleagues!). Some people have brilliant experiences delivered by amazing staff. Other people experience something quite different.

Wrapped up inside the term ‘health care’ are lots of different agencies, organisations and care delivery services: primary care and GPs; secondary care in hospitals; dental services; ambulance services; and social care. At the moment, despite some brilliant regional examples, the majority of these organisations fail to communicate well with each other. It feels siloed.

Technology is transforming sectors like retail, banking and even transport, healthcare still feels resolutely analogue. It’s lodged firmly in the age of paper, faxes, pagers and stamps. Despite all this, the NHS delivers huge value and often excels in times of crisis.

Often, it is argued that other sectors are more successful because we pay for their services… but we all pay taxes right (or most of us do)?

So back to my original question, as a citizen (with more than just a bit of Information and Technology knowhow!) what does great digital health and care look like to you?

Posted by Jonathan Jeffery on 21st Dec 2016
Login to join the conversation

Comments (3)

Sharon Gaskell

09 January 2017

Fixing the whole NHS is a huge challenge. Looking at primary care in isolation, it seems – despite the arrival of the digital age that visiting the GP feels like we’re following a process laid down in the 1930s. The only advances seem to be in the field of telephony services that appear to act as a portcullis between people and doctors. Going to the GP should feel much more Apple-like – more customer focussed. We could have Skype calls with GPs as opposed to travelling to the surgery. The medical profession could also do a better job at surfacing information – information that helps people remain healthy, and information about centres of medical excellence that specialise in certain medical procedures. With more information at their fingertips, people could make more informed choices about their wellness and also their care, should they become ill.

Laura Jayne Bartle

09 January 2017

An app driven service would certainly save time and money. Skyping GPs would be quicker, and better communication between health organisations may help prevent bed-blocking.

A more digital health service may also be able to deliver care in the home as opposed to in a hospital. Indeed hospitals are seldom conducive to recuperation, rather they’re sometimes seen as disease palaces.

There’s also room to help people understand the value of data in health care. The idea of data sharing – thanks to high profile breaches and thefts – has a terrible reputation. People hear only bad news via the media. Data in a health setting can, however, save lives and there’s work to be done to help people see the real benefits of allowing medical information to be shared. Again, BCS can help facilitate discussions about sharing health data.

Billie Mcveigh

09 January 2017

You can make and cancel an reservation at a restaurant from your phone. To do the same for a hospital or GP appointment generally requires waiting for somebody to answer your telephone call. If the NHS were to suddenly go purely digital to the level of Amazon, for example, the newness of the customer interfaces might disadvantage some people. Not everybody is completely au fait with iPads, iPhones, emails and the internet. Indeed, some sectors of society who have relied on the traditional phone-based appointment system and ten minute consultation with a doctor might struggle with a purely digital interaction. Learning to trust new NHS technologies and processes might take considerable effort and time on the part of some people. As the NHS advances towards a digital future it may be necessary for BCS to begin helping people with general digital skills so they can access health and social services online.