A Digital NHS
The NHS is facing unprecedented financial worry, with a fixed budget with diminished buying power being shared between more and more patients. Current methods of care are unsustainable in cost and scope. GP visits are still almost the same today as they were for our parents and grandparents when the NHS was first rolled out 70 years ago, despite the fact that there has been endless technological progress. However, with Sustainability and Transformation Plans including telehealth and electronic records as a must being published across the UK, digital healthcare is set to become a cornerstone of the NHS.
The Future of Healthcare
Teleheath and health wearables are beginning to radically transform how patients are seen and assessed by their clinical teams. Already consumers are quick to adopt the latest smartphone or wearable, Fitbits and other health related apps are hugely popular.
The NHS is also taking advantage of new technology trends. The Department of Health is adopting health apps and NHS Digital, along with the Academic Health Science Networks, are helping to speed up the process of technology adoption.
The NHS Test Beds are ripe with innovation, with each one addressing a locally-identified clinical challenge. These trials are helping to bring digital technology into the NHS. Digital Catapult is working with two of these test beds as part of the IoTUK programme, with the Diabetes Digital Coach and the Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM) test bed.
The dementia test bed is a ‘Living Lab’ equipped with the Internet of Things, deploying the most effective combinations of technologies in people’s homes. 1400 people suffering from dementia and their carers will be recruited in the trial from the Surrey region.
This IoT test bed will showcase the use and impact of connected, network-enabled devices including monitors, apps, wearables and sensors. It will link data sources to enable continuous monitoring, observation and measurement, which will support better and faster clinical decision making.
Diabetes Digital Coach
The Diabetes Digital Coach test bed is led by the West of England Academic Health Science Network, with a range of technology and evaluation partners. It brings together digital health self-management tools (such as wearable sensors and supporting software) with the latest developments in connecting monitoring devices – the Internet of Things.
The Test Bed enables people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to ‘do the right thing at the right time’ to self-manage their condition, and will encourage more timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks. The trial will include 12000 people with diabetes from the West of England region.
With these projects helping to train patients in the NHS to use technology to augment their care, and allowing CCGs the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of telehealth, we will soon see technology being part of our treatment with the NHS as standard.
What changes are you expecting to see in the NHS over the next few years as they move towards an increasingly digital offering?
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