INDUSTRY WATCH face . The programme focuses on the needs of patients , clinical staff , administrators , or the many others who are critical to delivering care .
“ The NHS finds itself under immense pressure and it needs partners that are able to really listen and co-create solutions that have a positive impact on workloads and patient experience ,” said Dr Tim Ringrose , President , Digital Health , Royal Society of Medicine . “ We can all see the potential technology can have , but right now it ’ s not always deployed in the right ways . Our mission is to share healthcare learning and support innovation , and the future of our healthcare system is dependent on working with partners that have similar commitments .”
I caught up with Sultan Mahmud , Director of BT Healthcare , to pick his brains about the relationship between tech and healthcare ’ s frontline and how this can be improved .
How are health services adopting tech on the frontline currently ?
Technology is already playing a huge role in supporting workers on the frontline in the NHS – from streamlining patient care by digitising patient records , to implementing remote patient care wherever clinically appropriate with care closer to home . The theory of change is to speed up workflow for clinicians and support decision-making , deliver anticipatory care and release time to take by automating mundane admin tasks . However , more can and needs to be done to empower staff , enhance care and use tech to relieve unprecedented levels of stress .
The vast majority of those we spoke to on the frontline agreed that technological infrastructure – the basic fundamentals – are not in place but are required to move to newer care models that relieve pressure on our hospitals and GP practices . Repeatedly , issues with infrastructure – like building connectivity ‘ notspots ’ and the need to switch between devices to carry out tasks – are shown to be a continued thorn in the side of NHS staff . There is a clear appetite for adoption , but existing systems and processes are holding the NHS back . That ’ s where BT can support and help break down these barriers . workforce plan produced by the NHS in 2023 proposes a 55 % increase in staffing by 2035 . It ’ s a gargantuan challenge , but technology can help by reducing the burden of administrative tasks , releasing time to care , digitising new models of care closer to home and , where appropriate , transforming self-care by giving patients greater control over their health and wellbeing for an increasing number of conditions and care pathways . It can also improve operational efficiency for administrators and improve the experience of delivering care for busy clinicians .
Moving forward , how can we find a solution to staffing levels and burnout being the biggest barriers to Digital Transformation ?
The way forward is to be actively listening to NHS organisations about the challenges their workers face and then working with them as trusted partners to co-create solutions that results in user buy-in right from the outset . This is the foundation of BT ’ s Vanguard Innovation Programme . For example , as part of the programme last year , we introduced digital tools that capture NHS staff sentiment and ideas for improvement for their boards – this kind of activity gives control back to the frontline and helps alleviate burnout .
Through listening to those on the frontline and consulting with our Clinical Advisory Board , who are practicing doctors and nurses every step of the way , we ensure each technology decision is driven by the real-life everyday challenges clinicians face .
How do you think greater communication around technology adoption will help overcome these barriers ?
I think communication , collaboration and long-term partnerships are key . Our insights survey showed that 74 % of NHS staff believe that technology can help transform patient care in England and want their organisation to invest in new solutions and software to attract staff .
How will technology have an important role to play in addressing staff shortages – one of the biggest issues facing the NHS today ?
This is a global problem , with a global workforce shortage in healthcare of 25 million . The long-awaited
To overcome barriers to digitisation , it ’ s crucial the NHS and trusted partners like BT work in unison to allow NHS staff to see the art of the possible and how other sectors have been transformed . In addition , a success regime that rewards NHS organisations on comprehensive digitally-enabled workforce strategies would be top of my list . p
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