Gavin Bashar, UK MD at Tunstall Healthcare, explains how technology can enable the UK to become a global leader in population health management
Health and care services in England are in urgent need of reform. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, an aging population and the impact of austerity meant the pressures on our systems were near breaking point.
The pandemic continues to have an extraordinary impact on our health and social protection services, public health and the role of local authorities. These effects will last long after the impact of the pandemic has abated.
The investment and deployment of technology is essential to enable local authorities to work with the NHS and social care providers to build on the current digital transformation, support better management of population health and enable the UK to become a world leader in public health.
COVID-19 and digitization
The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of health and social care, and has highlighted the positive impact this can have on collaboration with local authorities and population health management.
Collaborative action to improve the management of population health directly fuels opportunities for social renewal, a healthier and more productive workforce and the opportunity to place the UK at the center of global industry booming health. Improving health care and social services is therefore an investment in the future prosperity of the UK and its place in the world, and not just a cost to be managed.
There is now a growing acceptance and perceived utility by professionals within government departments and the public of the role that technology plays in the provision of services and the management of our health. Whether using virtual care platforms, remote monitoring solutions, communication tools, digital applications or sophisticated data platforms, our services are entering a new phase of digital maturity. .
The pandemic has exposed several challenges and flaws, but none are more urgent than worsening health inequalities. More effort is needed to ensure that the widening gap is narrowed. The intelligent use of actionable data and personalized services will empower patients and service users to be offered solutions that are more accessible and convenient to them.
Clinicians benefit from improved access to end users through real-time, global patient information. This enables preventive care, as stakeholders are better placed to monitor vulnerable people, quickly identify potentially adverse events, mitigate their effects, and avoid the need for more complex interventions. This not only reduces the pressure on our health and social protection systems, but it also reduces costs for local authorities and the public.
The advantages of TECS
The TEC Services Association conducted an assessment in 39 boards which identified average annual savings of Â£ 1,163 gross / Â£ 890 net per TEC user (1). This was typically 70% cost avoidance and 30% cashable savings1. Obviously, there are huge cost advantages to investing in such technology, both in the short term and in the long term.
Many people want to continue to live independently and safely for as long as possible, with the confidence that care and support will be provided when needed. Technology is widely seen as a way to meet this challenge, enabling the delivery of high-quality care to an aging and post-pandemic population.
The use of technology in health and social services is increasingly about developing and delivering innovation-driven digital health and care solutions that provide new, more efficient and effective models for community health and care management. The growing potential for the use of technology, the use of data and the harmonization of surveillance systems now offers a tantalizing opportunity to revolutionize population health, both delivering better outcomes for individuals and reducing costs to the state.
A 21st century healthcare system must have digital innovation at its heart, and this must be embraced by local authorities and government. As innovative technology continues to transform all aspects of modern life, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the impact this has on the health and well-being of the population. Where it has not yet done, digitization is expected to touch every corner of health and social services and open up new frontiers for practice.
If digital is to be placed at the heart of service transformation, people must be involved in services by accessing their own health data and digital tools to manage their own care. By allowing people to be co-creators of their own health, people can be reframed as informed decision-makers as opposed to passive recipients of care. Citizens must therefore be involved in the development of new forms of digital and data-driven healthcare.
The next generation of technologies will lead to the vision of a highly personalized model of care that allows more elderly and vulnerable people to live independently longer. New technologies and services use advanced AI to detect whether a person’s health might be on the verge of deteriorating, spot potentially undiagnosed illness, and resolve immediate social care needs.
By taking data from multiple sources, including motion sensors, smartphones, wearable devices, and recordings, new technologies can provide a clear picture of the risks a person faces and ‘push’ them or their caregivers to respond. , or alert a professional. It is designed to improve the quality of life for more people while reducing the number of GP visits, ambulance calls, hospitalizations and the demand for residential care funded by local authorities.
The UK healthcare and care system is at an opportune time to capitalize on digital advancements that will likely never accelerate so quickly again. It’s time for the industry to work with local authorities and build on what started last year and fully commit to a healthy future with digital reform at its core.
1. Socitm, Inform Report: Care Technology Landscape Review, June 2019
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