In an era marked by the third industrial revolution, where digitisation is penetrating all aspects of our lives, it is crucial for the NHS to adapt and embrace digital transformation to secure its future.

The potential for digital advancements to revolutionise healthcare is immense, but compared to sectors like banking and retail, the NHS still operates under archaic processes. With digitally mature trusts operating with 10% increased efficacy than less digitally mature counterparts, it’s easy to see why it is crucial to support what digital transformation offers.

As outlined in the NHS England long-term plan, The true value of digital technology lies not in merely digitising existing practices but in completely reengineering them. While banking and retail have undergone business model transformations, health and social care have made minimal changes in how services are provided. To address this, our focus should be on designing inclusive services that benefit individuals with the poorest health outcomes and limited opportunities.

Amid concerns about funding, staffing, increasing inequalities, and the pressures of a growing and ageing population, success in digital innovation will empower frontline health and social care staff to spend less time on administrative tasks and dedicate more time to delivering personalised and compassionate care. By reducing bureaucracy, we can truly transform the NHS for the better.

Let us explore key ways that digital innovation can usher the NHS into the digital age:

Digital Forms

Currently, care in the NHS can be disjointed, and clinicians often lack the right information when interacting with patients. With the introduction of a digital forms builder, clinical teams can create custom forms effortlessly, ensuring they ask patients the right questions at the right time. For instance, if a patient is scheduled for a procedure but forgets to read pre-appointment information and arrives, they may be sent home, wasting time and effort. This situation could easily have been avoided if a digital form had been sent to the patient beforehand, asking them specific questions and confirming that they had followed all necessary steps. Customising forms in a no-code environment allows clinical teams to create forms to get the right patient data quickly. Digital forms can also be used for a multitude of purposes within the health and care system, such as to support waiting list validation, patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU), and digital self-referrals.

Remote Monitoring

This powerful tool gives suitable patients the choice to recover safely at home rather than staying in the hospital. By establishing a digital connection to their clinical team, patients have the confidence their vitals are being monitored while enjoying the comforts of home to aid their recovery. Not only does this help improve the experience for patients eager to return home to their loved ones, but it can also be used to support patients living with chronic diseases. Many people living with chronic illness have to manage multiple hospital appointments and check-ups, restricting their lives, amounting to 64% of all outpatient appointments every year. Remote monitoring allows patients to self-manage their condition from home while maintaining regular contact and receiving input from their clinical team. Additionally, the data gathered through remote monitoring aids in predicting signs of decline, enabling timely intervention for optimal health outcomes. This new way of delivering care helps services to improve the quality of care while reducing face-to-face appointments and consumables associated with it.

Digital Appointment Management

It’s fantastic to see much progress made in the rollout of patient engagement portals (PEPs) across England. PEP’s ability to give patients a digital front door into the NHS is an essential milestone in improving patient experience. by giving patients more control over their health care. By granting patients greater freedom to manage their healthcare from their phones and simplifying appointment cancellations and amendments, we can significantly improve efficiency and appointment management. Placing patients at the centre of their own care and empowering them to take control of their appointments will enhance their experience within the NHS app. It is exciting to see where technology within the NHS App could go.

We feel that the NHS App offers so much potential. It would be fantastic to one day see the whole patient journey integrated through this, with patients able to attend digital appointments and consultations, all accessed through the trusted NHS App.

Digital transformation is not a luxury but a necessity for the NHS’s future success. By leveraging digital innovation and adopting digital technologies, we can overcome challenges, streamline processes, and create a healthcare system that is responsive, efficient, and patient-centered.

Let us embrace the digital revolution and ensure the NHS becomes a shining example of a modern healthcare system.

If you are looking to utilise a digital solution within your service or would like any information regarding our Hospital at Home, Patient Engagement Platform, or Forms solutions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected]. We’re here to assist you, whatever the stage of your digital journey.