This post is by Sophie Smyth.
What does the future of the NHS look like? What trends will shape the changes to UK healthcare services in the years to come? To answer these questions, Beverley Bryant, the Director of Strategic Systems and Technology for NHS England, gave an extremely insightful talk at this year’s EHI Live in Birmingham on the strategic plan she has for the service in the coming years.
Bryant spoke about three major technology priorities for the years ahead:
The first priority she spoke about was the need to “put technology into the hands of the patient.” Her vision is for the patient to manage their own healthcare. This could mean sitting at home on the computer arranging appointments that suit them, but it could also mean giving patients the ability to chat with doctors via Skype, she said. Using technology to improve customer service will also be an important trend, she said.
Bryant said she wants to make the NHS easier to do business with. She added that getting the patient online will open doors to a more efficient and smooth experience with the NHS. For example, speeding up the transferring of patient records between different NHS outlets will make it easier for doctors to provide referrals online. Bryant did add, however, that she wanted to still maintain the option for referrals to be handled via paper, as a way of maintaining user confidence.
Bryant’s talk also placed a major emphasis on “Developing the Informatics Profession,” to allow for health professions to make the most of healthcare data. She stressed the need for healthcare space to have a skilled, technologically savvy workforce to make these changes happen. Healthcare workers need to be confident when using technology and must be comfortable transitioning from out-dated software to a more efficient and newer programme.
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