“The collective principle asserts that no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”
It’s been 71 years since Aneuin Bevan founded the national health service; an institution that many regard as being the best thing about Britain. But how is the age old service, treasured and relied upon by millions; adapting with the times to continue with technology at the forefront of treating patients young and old?
There are many technological advancements that appear to be allowing smaller, private firms into the healthcare arena: allowing advancement of technology in the industry. As a result, the NHS is now having to look to new technologies to both increase the efficiency of the service and bring down the costs associated of providing healthcare for the masses. In a recent report for last year’s landmark 70th birthday; a report was written by The King’s Fund looking specifically into what new technology will mean for the NHS. Their key findings were as follows:
Technological advances offer significant opportunities to improve healthcare
These technological advances in the healthcare industry are growing at a rapid rate but should not be seen as a “silver bullet” for the pressures that the NHS are facing; on a social, political and economic standpoint among many others. We are witnessing extremely exciting times with technological progression in areas such as genomics and precision medicine but the report states that we are a long way from being able to realise the full potential in this area. Bespoke software builds in medical companies that are smaller is helping them to progress quicker than the NHS and remain competitive.
Technology has the potential to deliver significant savings for the NHS
While the NHS does not have a strong track record in implementing new software at scale; it needs to become better at assessing benefits, feasibility and challenges of implementing new technology. With that being said, there is massive potential for significant savings for the NHS which is one of the direct contributors to uncertainty around efficiency in our health service. With software development enabling the NHS to see cost savings, the challenge lies in implementation efficiency.
Level of understanding of new technology within patients is increasing
Because of the general understanding of technology in the public, patients are understanding the importance of the need for technology and know that it is, ultimately; for their benefit. For example, the majority of people say that they would use video consultations to talk to a GP about minor ailments (see their research below).
New technology could fundamentally change the way that staff work
In some cases, the technology that could potentially be implemented into the NHS could fundamentally change the way in which that NHS employees work. This may also even create various new roles within the NHS to help support the technologies and software being implemented.
More transparency will lead to open acceptance of processes
There are elements of mistrust about using data for health research in the NHS and this is likely down to lack of transparency in the data collection methods and publishing of this information. Public dialogue is needed and technology can help to bridge the gap between where we are now and the place that we need to get to, to ensure that moving forward the public trust in the health service is improved – enabling more research and more solutions to bigger problems.
In polling of over 2,000 UK adults (aged 15 and over) conducted by Ipsos MORI for this project:
63% of respondents would be willing to have a video consultation with their GP for advice on a minor ailment.
55% of respondents would be willing to have a video consultation with their GP for advice on an ongoing problem or condition.
43% of respondents would be willing to have a video consultation with their GP for immediate or emergency medical advice.
As you can see, the adoption of technology is definitely something that the public want to see happen and is definitely something that could work for the NHS. The issue is in implementation and ensuring that the training, knowhow and expertise is in place to manage such a massive change. Bespoke software development is something that is helping smaller medical companies drive change and this is something that the NHS can learn from in order to reach where they want to be for the benefit of the nation.
And finally, Happy Birthday NHS!