Health and social care experts have expressed their concerns about the current healthcare system, and how changes to it could significantly improve patient outcomes.
One of the ways that the NHS could change to improve its success rates is to include more digital technology and innovation, according to new plans. These new options would enable better patient care by making the healthcare system more transparent and effective.
The National Information Board, set up by the Department of Health and chaired by NHS England’s national director for patients and information, Tim Kelsey, has created a new proposal for how technology can work harder and better for patients in the next decade.
By 2015, all patients will have online access to their GP records from approved apps and digital platforms, according to the vision.
Although GP practices are well on their way to achieving this, the report has concerns about integrating other healthcare institutes, such as hospitals, community, mental health and social care services, by 2018.
This will mean that, in just four years, each patient in the UK will be able to access their health records from the simple click of a button. This will enable them to see every visit they have made to the GP or hospital, as well as full data on their prescriptions, any test results, and adverse reactions and allergies to drugs.
It is also hoped that this will allow patients to record their preferences and thoughts to appear next to their official medical notes.
Secretary of state Jeremy Hunt said the NHS should be a world-class showcase of what innovation can achieve, with these most recent plans setting out how we can give patients 21st century, personalised healthcare.
As well as the various benefits for patient care, such as preventing diseases, more comprehensive use of technology will contribute to a more efficient National Health Service. The new report also highlights examples of where this is already happening, where technology is playing a key role in patient services.
According to the proposal, technology will have a vital role to play in helping to contribute to the £22 billion in efficiency savings needed to sustain the NHS, which was set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
Tim Kelsey, national informatics director, said: "New mothers will now be able to carry their red book around with them on their smartphone and tablet as the NHS moves towards offering digital Personal Child Health Records. This will put an end to worrying about leaving your child’s information at home when going for a review, vaccination, or emergency treatment."
He added that technology must be embraced to help people in the UK lead healthier lives, and to take more control of the situation when they are ill.
The proposals won't just help patients, as the framework also outlines how the changes will benefit those working in the healthcare sector. Real-time data will be available to paramedics, doctors and nurses, ensuring patients receive safe and effective care. All NHS-funded care services are expected to have digital and interoperable systems, which remove the need for paper records, by 2020.
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