The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the biggest challenges the UK’s health and social care systems have ever seen. Yet out the pressure of the emergency, new models of healthcare delivery have been devised and deployed, many of them with digitisation as the enabler. Gavin Bashar [pictured on the right], Managing Director UK & Ireland at Tunstall Healthcare, describes the changing landscape, and explores what the future may hold.
The current crisis has highlighted many aspects of our society that weren’t previously high in the public’s consciousness, with much needed recognition of the amazing work of the NHS and social care. We’ve also learnt how quickly we are able to adopt new working practices if it becomes imperative to do so. Initiatives such as remote health monitoring which would previously have taken months to put in place have become operational within a couple of weeks.
As a leading provider of technology to health, housing and social care, Tunstall has been working closely with its customers to help them provide support to vulnerable people during the pandemic. Our solutions can give 24 hour reassurance, and a means to easily get help in an emergency, as well as supporting wellbeing with proactive calling. Remote health monitoring is empowering people with long term conditions in their own homes, and being deployed in care homes to monitor the health of residents.
As much as the pandemic has brought immense pressure to bear on our healthcare system, it has also resulted in unprecedented acceleration in the adoption of technology, and, just as importantly, the new models of care delivery that make the tech a success. After decades of debating the ways we can make our health and care systems more agile and sustainable, it is vital that we don’t lose the gains we’ve made as a result of the crisis.
I believe we need an ABC approach to change:
AVAILABILITY - Is it Accessible and are people Aware?
One of the major barriers to mainstream adoption of technology in health and care has been a lack of awareness of what is available, how it can be applied and the benefits. And as technology continues to advance, we need to build this into the training and development of health and care professionals, integrating its adoption across the health and social care landscape to ensure person-centred care and a coordinated approach.
BENEFIT – It has to be a collective benefit, ideally for everyone
We need to do more to evidence the benefits of embedding technology into pathways, from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Tunstall has seen clear improvements in both outcomes and the patient experience, as well as significant cost avoidance, but the difficulty in health and care of who pays and who gains remains a challenge under the current system.
COLLABORATION – Working in a very complex environment
Anyone who has worked in health and/or social care recognises the complexity of the structure. Any new initiative will require both a push and pull mechanism to create the impetus for transformation, which may well require statutory powers. If we can harness the current spirit of collaboration and innovation, the pandemic may yet prove to be the key to breaking down the silos and creating a ‘healthcare’ system.
The original version of this blog can be found at: www.tunstall.co.uk/abc-change