NHS must widen use of modern technology

The NHS must widen its use of modern technologies if it is to increase its effectiveness, an NHS Confederation report suggests.

Nigel Edwards: 'The prospects under a 21st century
Nigel Edwards: 'The prospects under a 21st century

People should be given the option to manage parts of their healthcare through modern communication technologies like they do in other areas of their life, the report argues.

It says that, although ‘for the very old face-to-face care is still most appropriate’, for younger generations this is not always the case.

Initiatives such as telemedicine have failed because funding pressures and cultural barriers meant patients and clinicians failed to engage with the initiatives, the NHS Confederation argues.

New technologies will form the backbone for how public services are accessed in future, the report argues. NHS organisations need therefore to continue to make the case for introducing these technologies and must also address the cultural barriers that block uptake of technologies.

NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards said: 'The prospects under a 21st century ‘digital’ economy are much more promising with the potential to both offer highly specialist care remotely into people’s homes and monitor conditions much more easily as they develop.'

He added: 'We need to address these barriers as people increasingly expect to access services online. It simply can not be sustainable in the health service of the future for skilled NHS staff to continue to send on referral letters using second class post.'

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