Harnessing the right technologies to power the NHS

Jordan Amos, enterprise account executive, UK public sector specialist at LogicMonitor, discusses why health trusts need to prioritise the right technology to succeed with their digital transformation projects.

The Autumn Statement received mixed reactions from healthcare professionals across the UK, with many claiming it was a missed opportunity for the Government to provide much-needed support for Britain’s healthcare system. While the Statement lacked any major new investment for the healthcare sector, the Chancellor reaffirmed previous commitments such as the £200 million funding boost announced this September to strengthen NHS resilience ahead of the winter period.  

Responding to the Autumn Statement, Dr Latla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, branded it a “missed opportunity from the chancellor to get the NHS back on track following the huge impact that strikes have had on patient care and already-tight budgets”. McCay added, “Independent experts have said that the costs so far stand at £1.7 billion yet only £800 million has been allocated and mainly by raiding budgets elsewhere, which will cause long-term harm to the NHS’s ability to transform its services.”

The CEO of the Health Foundation, Dr Jennifer Dixon, also expressed disappointment over the Statement and addressed the vital impact on technology investment “…budget constraints have forced the NHS to cut back on investing in technology, which is a major route to help deliver high quality care more efficiently now and in future.’

This follows a string of criticisms around the UK Government’s ‘lacklustre’ efforts to support the NHS and its digital transformation efforts. Last year, a report from the Health and Social Care Committee warned that the UK Government is making inadequate progress on vital commitments to digitise the NHS, despite digitisation being an essential component to deliver on promises of improved health and social care services.

Optimisation > transformation

Grappling with ongoing resourcing, staffing, and funding challenges, the NHS must be extra careful with how and where it invests into new technologies and innovations to improve operational efficiencies and ultimately patient care. NHS IT systems often consist of outdated technology that is no longer fit for purpose, along with unconnected systems that can directly impact patient wellbeing.

In recent months we saw the NHS waiting list at 7.75 million – the highest figure since records began in 2007. Technology will continue to play a huge role in both reducing the length for patients to be seen for their first appointment, as well as the length of treatment. Length of patient stay is also a major issue for the NHS, which causes further delays and prevents care being provided to those who need it most, particularly during peak times of the year.

As the technology landscape continues to evolve and new innovations continue to emerge to support healthcare systems, prioritisation – and optimisation – is key. Investing into technologies that will support and enhance an organisation’s existing tech stack, rather than focusing efforts on large scale transformation projects is the way forward. Taking a ‘digital optimisation approach’ to digitising will help the NHS do more with less, while keeping patient care front of mind. 

The role of observability

It’s clear that the future of healthcare is data-led. Data driven innovations are already helping to improve health services for both doctors and patients, and this is only set to continue. In recent years we have seen an explosion of wearable, data-producing medical devices such as smart watches, smart rings, electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors, blood pressure monitors and biosensors. With vast amounts of data coming from many disparate sources, having the correct infrastructure in place is critical to unleash its full potential. 

This is where observability can play a huge role in accelerating the pace of digital transformation. Having a clear, unified view of health data that simplifies the monitoring process for healthcare organisations through automation is a critical component for improving patient care. By effectively monitoring medical devices and the sensors integral to their functionality, the NHS can streamline operations and mitigate escalating costs. Having access to real-time, actionable insights accelerates the decision-making process and enables a more efficient, and therefore cost-effective work environment. 

Preventing outages is important for any industry, but when you’re dealing with people’s lives the stakes are often higher. With the every-increasing complexity of medical technologies, maintaining uptime is paramount. Automation can significantly shorten the time between alert and analysis, enabling teams to proactively monitor the health and performance of mission-critical systems, enabling rapid response to incidents, and prompting potential issues to be tackled head-on. This eases the burden on NHS practitioners who are already under immense pressure, and frees them up to focus on more valuable, strategic work.

As the healthcare industry continues its data-driven evolution, observability will be a crown jewel for the NHS and other healthcare providers. In an environment where thousands of separate devices generate copious amounts of data, having complete visibility of operations can drastically improve patient care and power breakthroughs in medical discovery that will shape the future of healthcare. 

Source link

This post originally appeared on TechToday.