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How the NHS can embrace digital transformation with minimal disruption

We are living in an increasingly tech-savvy society. People appreciate the benefits of technology; they know what it can do for them and it enriches their lives. As ever-greater numbers of devices enter our homes and workplaces, we're ever-more comfortable using them for a wide range of activities. We shop, bank, book holidays, watch our favourite shows, stay in touch with loved ones... in short, digital is the go-to medium for getting things done.

With such widespread adoption of technology on every level, most industry sectors now have an established digital offering in place. It helps employees achieve more, and improves job satisfaction. In fact, in some industries it's essential in order to attract and retain the best talent. It's equally vital for sales. Customers expect a degree of digital interaction; if they don't think they're getting it, or perceive a business as being somehow technologically behind the curve, they'll soon move to another supplier who isn't.

Meeting patient expectations

Of course, these same people are all consuming healthcare services. And their appetite for technology-enabled care is equally great. Today's patients demand high quality, personalised care - while expecting reassurance that their personal information is safe. However, healthcare is lagging behind other sectors. Despite developing some of the most pioneering and celebrated clinical achievements known to man, digital technology in the NHS back office is failing to meet patient expectations.

In an environment of dwindling budgets and scarce resources, patients are being encouraged to be proactive, and take control of their own health. Prevention is the best cure, and this is better addressed by empowering and educating individuals to monitor their own wellbeing, and pre-empt medical needs. Therein lies the paradox. This proactive philosophy - so crucial to the future of the NHS - can only be achieved by embracing digitalisation across the whole NHS infrastructure and the opportunities it provides; but that technology is not yet in place.

Why? Well, largely due to the sheer size and complex structure of the NHS, and the need to do more with less. While most employees see the benefits of digitisation, they are hampered by legacy IT infrastructure and restrictive processes. As ever, investment is desperately needed, but can be difficult to justify when frontline services are being stretched. This can be even more apparent during the winter, when patient demand reaches a peak, putting extra pressure on healthcare providers.

The role of EDM

However, not all technology takes time to make a difference. Enterprise data management can transform the working lives of everyone in the NHS ecosystem quickly and simply, giving patients greater control; revolutionising resources for carers; reducing administration, and supporting development of new medicines and treatments1. In all these areas, enterprise data management can fundamentally change NHS operations: making every interaction faster, easier and more affordable. In turn, it can help the NHS improve overall health outcomes, through better, safer, sustainable care.

Enterprise data management focuses on deriving maximum value from every piece of available data, to create an accurate, meaningful information overview that drives better business decisions and resource usage. This makes it an ideal way of managing the proliferation of technologies and devices in today's world. UItimately, this accessible, visible information can make healthcare professionals' lives much easier. For example, patient care pathways become seamless, with all parties aware of the complete patient history. This means better services, and improved trust from patients regarding confidentiality and care standards.

As healthcare increasingly promotes proactivity through 'self-care', platforms like enterprise data management (EDM) are becoming must-haves for forward-thinking institutions. Patients and carers alike are increasingly demanding technologies that are easy to use, efficient and secure.

Let your data do the work

As enterprise data management specialists, Insource can help you develop and deploy a robust EDM strategy. We've spent more than 20 years creating healthcare solutions alongside our NHS customers, for the benefit of the entire UK healthcare community. We can help you design and deploy user-friendly, robust data management strategies that meet your objectives while minimising risk and cost of ownership.

Our white paper 'Meeting challenges with change: managing today's NHS' takes a closer look at the issues facing today's healthcare providers, and how innovative technology - and specifically data management - can help alleviate them. We hope you enjoy it.

Download the white paper here.

1Source: Personalised Health & Care 2020 – National Information Board report for NHS