Health Service Focus

06.10.16

We must act now so technology can help transform health and social care

Dr Michael Dixon OBE, GP, former chair of NHS Alliance and former president of NHS Clinical Commissioners, discusses the role of technology in health and social care.

 We talk plenty about re-organising health and social care and co-funding, but very little is done in practice. In the meantime, pressures from a growing ageing population and the number of people living with long-term conditions are rising. We know that there is very little financial relief coming any time soon, so we will only be able to meet these pressures through efficiencies and transformations in the way that we deliver care.  

Too often, health and social care professionals are slowed down by disjointed records and risky care can be the result. The impact of this goes far beyond financial cost and efficiencies, we are compromising patient care. The first step to combining health and social care must be in shared records. We cannot expect health and social care to become joined up if they do not speak the same digital language.  

I am involved in a cross-sector think tank, The Fourth Age of Care, which is spearheaded by everyLIFE Technologies whose professional advisory group I chair. The Fourth Age of Care seeks to explore the barriers and levers to adopting the right technologies at pace and scale. I believe this is essential if we are to transform care for people and deliver breakthrough efficiencies for those responsible for their care. The internet is the organising principle of the modern world but its potential is not being effectively harnessed to organise and support public services. This is especially true in social and healthcare, where bold intervention is required to address spiralling demand and dwindling investment.

The Fourth Age of Care is a vision of a connected world that is safer, more transparent, more inclusive and offers a more sustainable business model. It offers greater choice and control for people and their families. Getting there will not be without challenges, some technical, some cultural, and some just about having the time and headspace to imagine how things can change. 

How can we help deliver The Fourth Age of Care?

  1. Join the debate. That means everyone together, open and pragmatic discussions – public sector, private sector and the voluntary sector
  2. Provide impartial, high quality, individualised information about services to consumers of care. You can’t choose well when you don’t know what is on offer and all the information to make an educated decision
  3. Move to digital platforms for care planning and delivery. Connected care is shared, integrated care – and shared, integrated care requires shared data supported by cross sector digital technology
  4. Develop a common lexicon. Connected care requires all those involved in health and social care to speak the same language – one that puts the person in the centre
  5. Define a common dataset. What information is it that supports care planning and delivery that must be shared across a connected network?

We know we can make life so much better than it is now for those people caught up in the gap between health and social care. It will not be simple. The challenges of sharing information and agreeing standards across public, private and voluntary organisations are profound. But we must act now if we are to ensure that the health and social care sectors are strong enough to deliver the quality of care that people deserve.

 Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS England’s chief nurse to take up role as London regional director

21/08/2017NHS England’s chief nurse to take up role as London regional director

England’s chief nurse Professor Jane Cummings will take charge of the London region until a permanent regional director is found, NHS Engla... more >
Risk assessments not carried out before teenager’s death at Southern Health

21/08/2017Risk assessments not carried out before teenager’s death at Southern Health

Regular risk assessments were not carried out by the psychiatrist responsible for Connor Sparrowhawk when the teenager died in 2013, a tribunal h... more >
Too many older patients ‘suffering in silence’ over complaint concerns

21/08/2017Too many older patients ‘suffering in silence’ over complaint concerns

Concern has been raised by the families of older patients this week who say that it is too difficult to complain about the hospital care or treat... more >

editor's comment

13/06/2017Tackling the major challenges facing the NHS

As you will have gathered from the front cover, a theme that runs throughout this edition of NHE is about empowering and involving the workforce in order to deliver innovative change across the system.  Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, highlights on page 16 the importance of sustainability and trans... read more >

last word

Your personality, your leadership

Your personality, your leadership

Deirdre Wallace, clinical skills manager at UCL Medical School, discusses the importance of learning about leadership and self while at medical school. Approximately five years ago, I was ch... more > more last word articles >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

We need your Health Heroes!

21/08/2017We need your Health Heroes!

We are once again delighted to be the official media partner for the Our Health Heroes Awards, working alongside Skills for Health to celebrate those in our healthcare workforce who go above and beyond the call of duty. It’s important that the fantastic contributions healthcare workers are making across the UK every day don’t go unnoticed. Working on the frontline of patient care, they are the reason hospitals, trusts, care ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Changing our digital culture and safeguarding patient data

08/08/2017Changing our digital culture and safeguarding patient data

Joanna Smith, chief information officer at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS FT (RBHT), says that as the NHS becomes more digital it has to get ... more >
A centre for medicines optimisation research and education

04/08/2017A centre for medicines optimisation research and education

Dr Yogini Jani, a consultant pharmacist at University College London Hospitals NHS FT (UCLH), discusses a collaboration with UCL School of Pharma... more >
Unlocking the benefits of age-friendly cities

04/08/2017Unlocking the benefits of age-friendly cities

Stefanie Buckner, Calum Mattocks and Louise Lafortune from the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, alongside Melanie Rimmer from the School of ... more >
A community service

04/08/2017A community service

Louise Watson, NHS England director of the New Care Models programme, discusses the emerging success stories from the vanguard areas across the c... more >
Diabetes Professional Care launches 2017 Conference programme

03/08/2017Diabetes Professional Care launches 2017 Conference programme

An outstanding line-up of practitioners and thought leaders will share their expertise and knowledge with healthcare professionals from across th... more >

interviews

Improving care at the touch of a screen

08/08/2017Improving care at the touch of a screen

When it comes to dementia, having a calm and safe environment can have a substantial impact on a patient’s quality of life. NHE’s Jos... more >
A new approach to talent management

25/07/2017A new approach to talent management

Martin Hancock, national lead for talent management at NHS Leadership Academy, and Gill Rooke, the organisation’s senior operations manager... more >
Enabling greater integration through ACSs

25/07/2017Enabling greater integration through ACSs

At this year’s NHS Confed, Simon Stevens revealed the first wave of accountable care systems (ACSs). NHE speaks to Ian Dodge, the director ... more >
How NHS organisations can protect themselves against cyber crime

25/07/2017How NHS organisations can protect themselves against cyber crime

On 12 May, a global cyber-attack occurred on an unprecedented scale. It affected organisations across the globe and, though it did not specifical... more >
Working collectively to improve cancer outcomes for patients

20/06/2017Working collectively to improve cancer outcomes for patients

Last year, the cancer vanguard established the Pharma Challenge. Rob Duncombe, pharmacy director at the Christie NHS FT, gives NHE an update on t... more >