The government has announced a new fast-track route into the NHS for “breakthrough” medicines and technologies. This will speed up the time it takes for patients to benefit from ground-breaking products for conditions such as cancer, dementia and diabetes.
From April 2018, the new ‘accelerated access pathway’ will mean products with the greatest potential to change lives could be available up to 4 years earlier. It will be done by reducing the time it takes to negotiate evaluation and financial approvals before the NHS can purchase the products.
Under the scheme, a number of products each year will receive ‘breakthrough’ designation. This will unlock a package of support allowing firms to accelerate clinical development and gain a fast-track route through the NHS’s approval processes.
This case study describes how Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has significantly reduced their agency spend by developing an app which allows locums to easily self-roster.
LocumTap has increased bank use from 30 to 70 per cent, is saving the trust approximately £40,000 a month for junior doctor shifts alone and is improving morale, recruitment and retention.
Background The level of demand on primary care continues to increase. Electronic or e-consultations enable patients to consult their GP online and have been promoted as having potential to improve access and efficiency.
Aim To evaluate whether an e-consultation system improves the ability of practice staff to manage workload and access.
Design and setting A qualitative interview study in general practices in the West of England that piloted an e-consultation system for 15 months during 2015 and 2016.
Method Practices were purposefully sampled by location and level of e-consultation use. Clinical, administrative, and management staff were recruited at each practice. Interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically.
Results Twenty-three interviews were carried out across six general practices. Routine e-consultations offered benefits for the practice because they could be completed without direct contact between GP and patient. However, most e-consultations resulted in GPs needing to follow up with a telephone or face-to-face appointment because the e-consultation did not contain sufficient information to inform clinical decision making. This was perceived as adding to the workload and providing some patients with an alternative route into the appointment system. Although this was seen as offering some patient benefit, there appeared to be fewer benefits for the practices.
Conclusion The experiences of the practices in this study demonstrate that the technology, in its current form, fell short of providing an effective platform for clinicians to consult with patients and did not justify their financial investment in the system. The study also highlights the challenges of remote consultations, which lack the facility for real time interactions.
Public Health England
This guidance provides recommendations on how to develop and commission a health app and advises that apps must show that they meet criteria covering: clarity of purpose and intended use, their evidence basis, and findings from any published academic studies.
New technology designed to improve patient access, won’t solve the GP workforce problem, lead doctors have said today | OnMedica
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 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.
NHS Digital has launched its first ever e-nursing week in support of the campaign to re-educate the NHS workforce for a digital future | OnMedica
It has also endorsed the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) campaign “Every nurse an e-nurse”, and has pledged to play a supporting role in realising its ambition.
NHS Digital, is the national provider of information, data and IT systems for commissioners, analysts and clinicians in health and social care. It estimates that in many settings nurses provide 80% of patient care and they are often the clinicians leading the way in utilising new technology, and creating innovative ways of improving care using new digital tools.
The RCN says that the effective use of information and digital technologies is a key enabler in delivering better health and social care, now and in the future.
This case study looks at two telehealth models in Mexico and the U.S. targeting low- to middle-income parts of the population | Commonwealth Fund
In many developing nations, the public health system is unable to meet demand for services, driving people to seek costly services in the private sector. Telehealth can expand access to care while, in some cases, reducing unnecessary use of services, such as immediate acute care for non–health emergencies.
Using a call centre as the point of access, these models have reduced unnecessary use of services and supported patient navigation of local health services.