The digital route to better healthcare

By John Aloy – Managing Partner, Health, Telefónica UK

More and more of us expect our healthcare provision to adapt to our busy lifestyles. Visiting specialists during business hours to discuss concerns and options is fast becoming an unpopular choice.

Instead, we expect to access as much information as possible so we can make informed decisions.  The ability to access digital content over the internet allows patients to research their condition and compare the clinical options available.

And that’s not all. Now that the Care Bill has become the Care Act 2014, we not only have a choice, but our local authority is legally required to help us understand that choice. I predict this is only going to drive even more demand for digital services.

Independent, non-party think tank @Reform says patient-led ‘co-produced health’ should be the number one focus for the NHS in their recent report Solving the NHS care and cash crisis: Routes to health and care renewal. The report also cites the need to “Build more effective community-based services and public health” as the second priority.

Both of these rely on moving away from acute care towards preventative measures and care in the field. And in turn that can be achieved much more easily with a major shift towards digital services.  Only last month @Reformalso published their report, Disruptive innovation in public service reform, which considers the transformational impact of mobile technologies in public services.

Apple’s App Store now has an entire section of “Apps for healthcare professionals”. The NHS also provides a catalogue of apps that have been peer-reviewed to be clinically safe. Not to mention all the rumours about the major focus on healthcare services to come with iOS 8 and connected monitors.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) has been able to treat more patients in their own homes by using mobile devices with secure remote access to information. Removing the need to travel to a clinic has cut the number of missed appointments. In turn, the Trust has reduced the number of sites it runs from over 100 to less than 70, with huge cost savings.

It’s worth having a look at this 4G in action page to see  how 4G can help deliver faster diagnosis and earlier treatment, with secure access to patient records and video conferencing with specialists.

To keep up to date with the latest news and opinion on Digital Healthcare follow me on Twitter @john_aloy  or tweet using the hashtag #O2forHealth. Also, visit our website to find out more about how O2 is helping healthcare providers reduce costs, improve communications and provide better patient experiences.