Technology dominates every aspect of the UK health industry. From smartphone apps that can monitor blood pressure to Skype consultations with healthcare professionals, innovative technological discoveries are transforming the traditional patient/doctor experience.
New technologies for changing times
With a rising older population, staff shortages in the NHS and funding problems across the whole sector, the growth in the use of technology will enable healthcare professionals to concentrate on critical care. This means that those patients with ongoing conditions won’t have to see their GP as frequently as they will be able to monitor their symptoms themselves. Patients with diabetes or blood pressure problems can already obtain testing and monitoring kits from a wide range of companies, including Brosch Direct.
Experts advocate healthcare technology
Management consultants Deloiotte recently produced a report that advocated an increased use of technology in order to: ‘provide cost effective solutions at a time when demands on health and social care services continue to increase.’ The report highlights the increased use of smartphone and tablet apps to monitor patients’ conditions as well as the ability for doctors to issue e-prescriptions and perform
The report states that ‘technology has the power to improve access to healthcare services, especially for people with mobility problems.’ However, the report recognises that greater investment and consultation has to be introduced between technology developers and healthcare providers.
The government is on board
In conjunction with the Health Department led by Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, the government’s National Information Board (NIB) was established to ‘put data and technology safely to work for patients, service users, citizens and professionals who serve them.’ In some parts of the UK patients have access to their online medical records at the click of a button, they can also write their own comments on these records. A report published by the NIB in 2015 stressed the need to provide all UK citizens with NHS approved health apps by 2020.
Technology and mental health
28% of all healthcare apps are used in the monitoring of mental health conditions. Patients can monitor and register their mood swings via a specialised app and this data is passed on to healthcare professionals. There’s even an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), called Beat The Blues that allows patients to take control of some aspects of their treatment.
Improved technology for healthcare isn’t just concerned about saving money and lengthy surgery waiting times. Many of the apps allow patients to feel empowered, through education, research and general monitoring of their conditions. According to Deloitte 75% of the UK population already goes online for information relating to illness and treatments.
The introduction of bio sensors and online monitoring means that patients will still be able to engage with healthcare professionals and obtain treatment for a condition before it reaches the critical stage.
Florence Nightingale might not recognise the technology used in contemporary patient treatment but she surely would approve of the continued partnership between nurses, doctors and patients in a bid to treat the sick and promote wellbeing.