techUK Launches Investigation into How Technology Can Help Avoid a Winter Crisis

Winter Crisis Paper At ehi LIVE, techUK launched an investigation which will take place over the 2017/18 winter period to report on how technology can help us to support the NHS in addressing the challenges it faces, particularly in the winter months.

Ben Moody, Head of Health and Social Care at techUK chaired the event. He introduced the problem paper produced by techUK which will form the basis of the questions we seek to answer over the winter period. You can download the paper below.

We will all see headlines about a Winter Crisis in the media over the next few months. Beneath the headlines lies a very real combination of high demand and constrained capacity in the NHS. Similar problems exist in social care; and the integration of the two is far from seamless. This has resulted in some patients waiting far too long for admission to hospital, whilst others are spending time in hospital when they are fit to be discharged. For NHS and social care staff, whose efforts play the greatest role in mitigating these issues, the winter period can result in an increase in stress and a fall in job satisfaction, which often results in retention issues.

There is a lot of good work currently being done across the Health and Social Care ecosystem to address these problems. The solutions - where they exist - are manifold, and the tech industry is conscious that technology is no panacea. We do, however, believe that the sector can make a valuable contribution to help solving these issues.

Beverly Bryant, Chief Operating Officer, System C & Graphnet Care Alliance, Mandy Thorn MBE, Managing Director, Marches Care Ltd, Deborah El-Sayed, Acting Director Digital and Multi-Channel, NHS England, and Roger Wallhouse, Chairman, Docobo also presented at the launch.

Roger highlighted the role that tech can play in reducing unscheduled admissions to hospital. This is both good for reducing demand and for patient outcomes as people who are unnecessarily spending longer in hospital tend to deteriorate further.

Beverley focused on the importance building an evidence base showing that tech is having an impact on reducing the winter crisis pressures. She also emphasised that funding for technology specific projects that have the potential to transform the NHS need to be protected and not used as emergency funds during the winter period.

Mandy addressed the importance of social care in this debate. She said that we need to stop looking at social care as the poor relation to health care as investment in tech in social care will pay dividends by freeing up hospital beds and supporting the workforce.

Deborah noted that it is no surprise that there is no one single answer or one single organisation that can solve the winter crisis problem. Tech is critically important for NHS transformation but it needs to be embedded in operational processes in order to make it accessible to NHS leaders that may not have ‘digital’ in their job title.

If you would like to be involved in our investigation please contact Ben Moody

techUK Paper: Can technology help to avoid a winter crisis (pdf)

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