Gov't sees new tech as key to NHS success

Maricruz Casares
Setiembre 9, 2018

Patients in those areas will be able to download a beta version of the app from October, and will be able to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, view their medical record, access 111 online for urgent medical queries, set data-sharing preferences, record organ donation preferences and set end of life care preferences.

He also mentioned that the NHS is still one of the largest buyers of fax machines in the world and that, despite its "chequered history" with IT, opportunities from technologies such as artificial intelligence means we are now capable of a serious digital overhaul.

Hancock said that £200m will be invested to make a group of NHS trusts into "internationally recognised centres for technological and digital innovation".

Addressing the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, he also vowed to transform "clunky" IT systems within the health service, describing it as "the world's most frustrating place to work".

"Yet our hospitals operate dozens of systems each, that don't talk to each other".

The new NHS App, via which patients will eventually be able to consult their GP via video, will be rolled out across England in a phased manner starting with five pilot areas later this month. GPs, social care, pharmacies and community care are on different systems.

Matt Hancock said: "I love the NHS".

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Lastly, Hancock announced the creation of a HealthTech Advisory Board, which will highlight the NHS organisations that aren't following best practice.

But the technology relies on use of data, and the government and NHS have strong duties to ensure the data is secure and protects patients' rights and identities, so the public has trust in the new technology and the NHS as an organisation.

The Technology Partnerships Code of Conduct sets out 10 principles that outline how the government expects AI tech firms to work with the NHS to make it easier for them, but also the NHS's expectations if patient data is used.

"Now is the moment to draw a line and put the failures of the past behind us and set our sights on the NHS being the most cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology, to improve our health, to make our lives easier, and to make the money go further".

The health secretary concluded his article by noting that "technology has unleashed huge improvements in the rest of our lives".

"We can create a service that is more responsive and adaptable, that will be more efficient and reach more people".

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