Digital Technology and health

Patient Carers and Service User Vision | National Information Board | Department of Health

This policy paper examines how changes in digital technology can be used to improve patient, carer and service user experiences of health services. The document will allow people to understand why and how changes are being introduced and to see whether the planned improvements are really happening.

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Electronic Prescription Service saves NHS £130 million over three years

The transformative electronic prescription service (EPS) has managed to save the NHS £130 million over three years | NHS Digital

By allowing GP surgeries to send prescriptions directly to pharmacies, the EPS system, which has been developed by NHS Digital, has helped to save patients time and money when collecting their medications.

An audit of patients using the system found that 72 per cent said their medicines were ready and waiting for them when they arrived at their pharmacy, with the average prescription collection around 20 minutes quicker under the EPS system.

Over the past three years the system has saved patients almost £75 million and has meant patients need to make fewer return trips to pharmacies as a result of their medications being out of stock.

The time savings that EPS offers the average GP practice, allows staff to have more time to care for patients, particularly during the winter months when there is more demand for their services.

Additionally with more people falling ill over the winter period, EPS can help patients get their medication quickly and reduce the need for pharmacists to ring the GP about prescription queries.

The biggest savings were recorded by prescribers who saved around £327 million between 2013 and 2016, while dispensers saved nearly £60 million.

GP practices on average also saved an hour and 20 minutes each day by signing electronic repeat prescriptions compared to paper versions and an average of an hour and 13 minute a day by producing electronic repeat prescriptions compared to paper ones.

Other time savings for prescribers include:

  • Practices save an average of 43 minutes per day by not having to locate paper prescriptions within the practice.
  • Practices save an average of 31 minutes every day by not having to re-print lost paper prescriptions.
  • Practice staff save an average of 39 minutes every day by not having to wait for GPs to sign urgent paper prescriptions.
  • Practices save an average of 27 minutes every day by cancelling prescriptions electronically versus paper.

Full story at NHS Digital

New care models: harnessing technology

New care models: harnessing technology | NHS Confederation

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This report explores how five vanguards are implementing innovative digital technology solutions. It suggests that the starting point for the introduction of any new technology should always be from the perspective of the end user and that end-users should always be involved in the co-production of technological solutions.

Full report: New care models: harnessing technology

Additional link: NHS Confederation press release

Electronic NHS referrals

Two hospital trusts and their referring GP practices have become the first in the country to adopt a digital process for booking patient hospital appointments

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust are now processing all of their hospital referral appointments electronically via the NHS e-Referral Service. Patients are also able to change or cancel their appointments through the system with analysis showing that use of electronic referrals has halved the rate of patients missing appointments from 10% to 5%.

Plans announced to fast-track NHS digital technology

New technology designed to improve patient access, won’t solve the GP workforce problem, lead doctors have said today | OnMedica

https://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/6810048752/

Image source: opensource.com – Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, has responded to health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s promise that every patient should be able to access medical records and book an appointment via an integrated app in 2018.

The health secretary is to outline the measures at today’s Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester.

The digital expansion plans include:

  • The expansion of the existing NHS 111 non-emergency phone line service to include a new online ‘triage’ service for less serious health problems.
  • An NHS-approved health apps to guide patient choice – NHS England will launch a library of NHS-assessed apps, as well as advising on other wearable devices, to ensure people can select reputable and effective products to monitor and improve their health.
  • A relaunch of the NHS Choices website to improve the range of services – it will be relaunched as NHS.UK with a fuller range of online patient services, including the ability to register with a GP, see and book appointments, and order and track prescriptions.
  • Instant access to personal health records online – inspired by the ‘blue button’ app in the US, the new NHS.UK site will also enable patients to securely download their personal health records.
  • More interactive, local information about the performance of health services.

Read the full overview here

The NHS must embrace digital services or risk being left behind

Online services are challenging our model of primary care – the NHS must find a way to incorporate new approaches into the mainstream |story via The Guardian

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Writing in today’s Guardian, Richard Vize discusses how Online services are challenging our primary care model. People unable to take half a day off work for a few minutes’ consultation are using digital technologies in large numbers. The article goes on to claim GPs in clinics need to respond, with consultations conducted remotely if that is the patient’s choice.

The author suggests that the whole principle of list-based general practice will be called into question as healthcare is increasingly accessed via smartphones. Thousands of doctors are already working for online services; the NHS needs to find a way to incorporate this approach into the mainstream of care. The article concludes arguing that soon the first channel for delivering primary care will be digital, not clinics. The NHS needs to embrace this or be left behind by the private sector.

Full story at The Guardian