Guest blog: Why healthcare innovation is seen as the answer to many of the challenges facing global health systems
Healthcare technology innovation is rightly seen as the answer to many of the challenges facing global health systems. The role of digital technology in realising the dream of accessible, affordable, and sustainable care has grown across the entire range of health economies in not only serving current needs, but in building the basis for the healthcare of the future: personalised, digital by default and truly patient-centric. The UK Government’s ongoing investment in growing capabilities in areas such as AI and data-driven healthcare, has further fuelled the creation of cutting edge, evidence-based solutions.
Demand for healthcare services is growing and patients have ever-increasing expectations about the safety and quality of NHS services. Regulations are becoming not only tighter but more complex. The NHS must excel in providing healthcare solutions and digitalisation is key to enabling this. The concept revolutionises hospitals on a human, financial and operational level and is leading to the evolution of smart hospitals.
Smart hospitals are holistic, interdisciplinary innovators. Although smart hospitals require advanced technologies, becoming a smart hospital is not merely about IT. Rather, it is a deeply embedded, system-wide process that requires the participation of all stakeholders. The benefits are enormous - smart hospitals can help to offer lower infection risks, enhanced security, improve patient satisfaction and optimise resources. Smart infrastructure enables the collection and analysis of patient data to predict disease and intervene quicker. This means physicians can have access to patient data to make better decisions. It means patients can be seen by medical professionals without travelling long distances. It means citizens can educate themselves on their health and wellness and undertake basic tasks.
In 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced a draft strategy titled Data Saves Lives: Reshaping health and social care with data. One key aspect is the development of smart hospitals, leveraging the use of interoperability to redesign traditional processes. At a time when the NHS is recovering from the backlog created by the pandemic, these systems can significantly improve capacity issues and reduce staff burnout by creating intelligently optimised patient healthcare journeys.
One of the critical aspects of smart hospitals is the opportunity to bring data together to be shared in one central hub. Connecting systems can transform the way they are managed - from handling medicines to admitting patients - making day-to-day processes smoother and more efficient. These platforms can also improve the lives of patients with long term conditions by easily integrating at-home wearables with hospital systems for remote monitoring.
Ensuring that different health tech systems can communicate with each other is vital. Enabling this would mean that deeper insights can be discovered and more importantly, patient healthcare outcomes improved. Unless these systems are integrated, hospitals end up with siloed pools of data and disjointed services, an issue that has plagued NHS health tech from previous generations.
The UK Government has committed to build 48 new hospitals by 2030. This new programme will have transformational effects on the health and social care infrastructure, and also give staff and patients access to exciting new technology that will benefit them on a day-to-day basis. Now is the time to strive for the art of the possible and drive transformation with the new innovations in healthcare technology.
Since its inception, Netcompany has focussed on healthcare for its evident criticality to society. For example, from 2015 Netcompany has been responsible for development and maintenance of the e-health portal Sundhed.dk, which is the official portal for public Danish healthcare services. The portal enables citizens and healthcare professionals to find and share information and communicate, facilitating a more patient-centric approach to the Danish healthcare services. Additionally, Netcompany has been at the forefront of developing Covid solutions such as the Covid pass for a number of European countries.
Netcompany is delighted to sponsor the first techUK Health and Social Care Industry dinner taking place in Leeds on 28th April 2022. We have a strong presence in Leeds and understand it is a recognised hub for public sector healthcare bodies with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, NHS Digital, Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission all located in the area.