Harnessing the power of technology

Speaking at the Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013*, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, outlined the way in which innovation is to be used to drive the NHS into a future where it is “freed from the shackles of top-down bureaucracy.”  Giving the online seat booking innovation which transformed the air industry as an example Mr Hunt bluntly stated that “while they innovated, we stagnated.”

In a speech which touched on the Francis Report, culture and values as well as regulation and systems Mr Hunt highlighted the care and compassion which is at the heart of our health services.  He also called for patients to be put in the health driving seat.

One of the key practices which the Health Secretary believes needs to be implemented to transform the health service is the move to electronic patient records.  Giving examples of ways in which patient care can be improved by the use of electronic records, Mr Hunt said that a paperless NHS will have “massive implications for improved patient safety, genuine patient empowerment and self-management as well as scientific research.”

Of course it is not just the NHS which will benefit from electronic records.  Health practitioners both within and outside the NHS can find that electronic records will make a sizeable difference to their working patterns.  For example, the Clinic Appointments patient records service is already helping practitioners to streamline their operations.

With patient notes, documentation and X-Rays all available at the touch of a button the health practitioner no longer has to spend time in filing or searching for records.  This means more time spent on patient care and less chance of errors creeping in if important documents are mis-filed.  Combined with the Clinic Appointments’ virtual receptionist and diary management services the secure patient records service helps every health practitioner from a sole practice to a multi-unit facility to provide a streamlined and efficient service.

Health services in the UK are going places and those who are at the forefront of innovation and streamlined technology will be best placed to make the most of the new vision.  Putting patients first, innovating, bringing fresh thinking to health care; all these are on the Government’s radar.  The Health Secretary closed his talk, as we do this article, with this quote from Bill Gates “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.”

*http://mediacentre.dh.gov.uk/2013/03/13/13-march-2013-jeremy-hunt-innovation/

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