Digital technology enables collaboration like never before, and it is proving key in uniting industries that previously worked in silos. One such example is the healthcare industry, and it is clear that an increasingly digital future could prove extremely beneficial to both the industry itself and the patients it benefits.
For patients specifically, a digitally connected care system could simplify complex procedures and allow for a unified understanding of patient records regardless of whether you are visiting a hospital, physiotherapist or a local GP. By alleviating the requirement of patient records needing to be transferred, or the patients themselves having to recall medical history and treatments, a better system is provided to citizens and those working within healthcare who can then better track and manage treatment plans.
A world where a patient is discharged from hospital, their GP immediately informed or updated with new medications provided to their patient, the local pharmacist provided with an order to complete for collection and the patient able to access their medication list and medical history via an app is not as far away as one would imagine. In fact, it could be as close as 2020.
A simplified, digital world for healthcare providers and patients can only be a step in the right direction. Enabling the industry to do more, whilst providing patients with increased control too.
It also opens up a world of additional options for the healthcare industry to handle and deal with an increasing number of patients, a number that is set to increase by ¾ million by 2020. One such idea is virtual consultations, allowing GPs to provide services to patients that may not be able to attend the clinic or visit within surgery hours. Being more flexible, and using digital services to enable this flexibility is key if the healthcare industry is able to cope with an ever increasing demand for their services.
But this isn’t all future-thinking – already the NHS is taking steps towards becoming increasingly digital. Only recently they have announced the launch of four NHS 111 Online trials across the UK, enabling patients to access the services provided by 111 via their computer or mobile device. This trial will allow patients to check their symptoms online, and if further treatment or discussion is required the 111 team will get in contact and progress further.
Ultimately digitisation in healthcare provides flexibility to providers and patients, allowing faster access to data and an increased provision in services. A positive future for all.