Use of technology and data can help plug NHS funding gap

Rapid advances in the use of technology and data will see the NHS improve patient care and help meet the predicted £22billion deficit in its budget.

Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, told the Digital Health and Care Congress at the King’s Fund today that “technology has a hugely important role to play in delivering the health service’s productivity challenge – the shorthand for which is the £22billion”.

“I would put a health warning on some of the figures being talked about, but the use of technology and data along with new models of care could save as much as a third.”

“Our focus needs to be on how we are going to make the most of this opportunity to solving one of the greatest problems man has ever faced – caring for a growing and ageing population.”

He added: “We are in the middle of finding out how man and science can work in harmony through the use of what is called artificial intelligence.

“We have made real progress in openness and transparency and access to data. For the first time last year we published the data of individual surgeons in 12 different specialities. And just two years ago we launched the Friends and Family Test and since then we have received 8.5millions pieces of feedback.

“Since March 93% of GPs have signed up to providing online appointments, online access to records and online repeat prescriptions. They are to be applauded.

“The pace at which clinicians are grabbing hold of technological advances is incredible. The prize is an effective healthcare service for all.”

George Freeman, Life Sciences Minister, told the conference the Government was “wedded to openness and transparency and the advancement of the use of technology and data.”

He added: “The Five Year Forward View is hugely in line with what we as Ministers are trying to achieve. It’s an exciting and positive agenda.

“In America there is an extremely high level of acknowledgment and appreciation for what we are doing with technology and data and the rapid advances we have made. We need to drive forward with the use of data and be able to show the power of it in the advances we have made.”

The Minister explained that implementation of programmes was key and there needed to be delivery over the next three years.

“My role in this is to ensure that you get what you need and that we bring the public, patients and the press with us. We need more public support for what we are doing. Digital technology is going to transform health care of the future.”