NHS Long Term Plan Shows Healthcare Not Fully Embracing Tech

The future of health and social care in this country is one which is frequently, and often quite viciously, debated.

Questions such as ‘how much money do we need to give the NHS?’, ‘how do we fund it?’ and ‘what do we do about the regular failures in the system’ are never fully answered and the answers which are given never please all of the people all of the time.

So, it was unsurprising that the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan was met with praise from some and criticism from others.

But what did appear to get, if not universal praise, then universal absence from criticism, was the strategy for NHS digital transformation. Early media articles included positive but entirely vague mentions of ‘incorporating AI’ into healthcare.

Introducing technology into many aspects of not just the NHS but global healthcare systems is something we passionately believe in. We currently work with clients who realise the huge benefits of smart contracts, distributed ledger technology and digitalisation of patient records to bring about a patient centred care pathway.

Not only does it deliver on these issues and more, but it can significantly cut costs – which is something which everyone could support.

From the headlines it seemed that there might be a genuine drive towards incorporating innovative tech as a top down strategy from the Department of Health and Social Care, and certainly the proposal to use AI to help clinicians apply best practise would certainly chime with the findings from China on what machine learning can offer diagnostics.

Proposals announced at the end of last year by Matt Hancock regarding virtual appointments for GPs would allow busy clinicians to see housebound patients, cutting the need for time heavy house calls and eliminate the waste from patients not turning up to appointments. This is something which has been used in the charitable sector, including by our clients Mercy Ships.

And plans for properly secure NHS systems would get no criticism from this quarter, except perhaps a gentle questioning of “What took you so long?”

But there are opportunities which have been missed out, and they are the game changing opportunities of the sort that will make a real difference to patient care and the wellbeing of clinicians.

It was hard not to notice on media coverage, the difference in appearance between the tanned, smooth skinned television presenters and, as one junior doctor put it, ‘consultants in their late 30s who look wrecked, aged and exhausted…with a thousand-mile stare.’

But even those exhausted Health Care Professionals will tell you that what they want to deliver is the best results for patients – and that is where our work comes in.

Starting with one Trust, we hope to demonstrate that it’s the sort of thinking that GSM specialise in – that if you want to make real change you need to make some waves – that we believe will bring about genuine health care reform and real cost savings.