It’s a year since Covid-19 hit its first peak in the UK. People and businesses have had to navigate their way through three national lockdowns, each time turning to digital means to keep the wheels of life turning. Certain aspects of our life have translated seamlessly online, but what about health tech? What progression was made and how prepared would we be if Covid-20 were to happen tomorrow?
Last week, I was lucky enough to be joined by two leading healthcare providers - Dr Ben Brown, GP Partner, Langworthy Medical Practice, Senior Academic GP at The University of Manchester and Chief Medical Officer, Spectra Analytics and Dr Zahid Chauhan OBE, Chief Clinical Officer, BARDOC and Cabinet member for Health & Social Care - as we hosted a webinar, in conjunction with Digital Health magazine, to discuss just this.
Entitled ‘The Year 1 A.C. – After Coronavirus’ it was clearly a hot topic as close to 164 healthcare professionals registered to listen to how the adoption of technology in healthcare has stepped up to the demands of a locked down population and an over stretched health service. In Dr Chauhan and Dr Brown’s examples, technology really was the key to managing resources more efficiently, and ultimately delivering better care for patients. As Dr Chauhan highlighted, though, more than this, technology has been one of the best enablers in removing inequalities in the healthcare system at a time when inequality was under the spotlight.
Indeed, technology has really empowered patients to do more for themselves and, in turn, this will start to reduce pressure on our health services. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen some remarkable results through innovation in primary healthcare, and many professionals have caught a glimpse of what’s possible when there’s a will to make it happen.
It’s been an incredible year for anyone involved in healthcare experiencing demand at a scale no one could ever have imagined. Here at Advanced, we pretty much touch every part of health and care with our technology, so in many cases we have been front and centre helping our customers deal with some of these the astronomical challenges.
A few examples of these include:
- PATCHS – a new online consultation solution that integrates with our Docman 10 solution and, using AI, triages patients before appointments are made, reducing the requirement for patients to attend in person. Working with Spectra Analytics, and in partnership with The University of Manchester, PATCHS has the ability to handle hundreds of requests at a time allowing GP practice staff to prioritise and workflow digital patient contacts in real-time. Dr Ben Brown described the system in more detail on the webinar.
- Developing a whole new way of dealing with large volumes of patients suspected of COVID-19 at the start of the Pandemic, we worked tirelessly with NHS Digital to stand up a brand new instance of Adastra. We did this in a matter of days to underpin the new NHS CCAS – Covid Clinical Assessment Service - which has successfully triaged thousands of patients.
There’s no doubt the past year has brought more than its fair share of challenges for many, but there have also been some silver linings. Technology adoption was one such silver lining, embraced out of necessity initially but, longer term, will likely bring about change for good in the health service. The next step is accurate identification of aspects that were a success in order to invest more resources to bring about lasting change.
On the webinar, Dr Chauhan highlighted the empowerment brought about by technology and the need for this to continue long after COVID-19 ceases to be such an immediate threat to the population. Indeed, he has written a whitepaper on the topic, outlining three priorities for the healthcare of tomorrow, as well as four ways to support innovation in primary healthcare, and you can read his recommendations here.
During the webinar, we conducted an online poll in which we asked: ‘Are you confident that your current technology would allow you to operate at maximum efficiency if faced by with a new pandemic tomorrow?’ Interestingly 63% of respondents to say no, they were not confident that their existing technology would allow them to operate at maximum efficiency if there were a new pandemic. If you had joined the webinar, how would you have voted?
If you feel you would have been a part of that 63% in voting ‘no’, then I encourage you to listen to the webinar to learn how technology could help increase efficiency in your organisation. The link can be found here. I’d love to hear your feedback, so do let me know your thoughts.