EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
NIGEL HALL , DIRECTOR OF CLIENT HEALTH
SOLUTIONS AT NETCALL
A digital-first approach is critical , but there exists a need to create initial capacity in order to support digital innovation . NHS organisations require the resources , hours and returns on investment ( ROI ) that can be facilitated by the right technologies , as transformation cannot be delivered without resources . But change does need to happen , as the current demand placed upon healthcare systems will become unsustainable without such transformation .
The message from the healthcare workforce is one of being overworked and underpaid , with significant pressure to deliver savings amid tight budgets , leading to mass burnout . Widely reported to be underresourced , understaffed and underfunded , with a record-high waitlist of over seven million , the NHS is struggling to effectively respond to the challenges of elective recovery and the pressures on emergency care . Strikes are likely to exacerbate existing fragilities .
An AI-powered automation and customer engagement platform , that can integrate with legacy and external systems , is an opportunity to deliver the change needed to ease the burden on healthcare workers . This can be delivered at a pace and in a cost-effective way , compared to traditional development methods . Digitisation presents opportunities to ease patient care , reduce administrative load and minimise inefficiencies . This can give time back to workers , rapidly process additional patients and improve both worker and patient well-being .
A comprehensive automation and customer engagement platform will include transformative technologies , such as a low-code platform , digital contact centre solutions , robotic process automation ( RPA ), pre-built Machine Learning models and omnichannel messaging offerings . The technologies work complementarily , driving the best outcomes for healthcare workers and patients . But of course , training and development on new systems so staff can use them proficiently will be required too .
Ultimately , patients benefit as staff are provided additional time to focus on priorities . With an agnostic platform , the opportunities for integration across both telephony and existing legacy solutions bring the ability to move , rather than duplicate , information within the organisation . This provides the visibility required to attend to patients effectively and efficiently without additional work .
Digital should not be seen as the sole solution but utilised in conjunction with improvements and transformation elsewhere in the healthcare system – essentially Digital Transformation shouldn ’ t be seen as a magic bullet , but as a significant enabler . Above all , while such digital solutions are likely to improve the interaction for the majority of patients , continuing to provide integrated telephony solutions are crucial in order to ‘ leave no patient behind ’ for the 33 % who are digitally excluded by desire or circumstance . A balance must be struck in order to hit the fine line between embracing and consideration for those patients who are unwilling or unable to embrace digital solutions .
Digitisation presents opportunities to ease patient care , reduce administrative load and minimise inefficiencies .
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