Keeping up with the NHS’ digital demands
It is a well-recorded fact that the NHS regularly faces a number of challenges — including backlogs, inefficiencies, and budget and administrative burdens. These challenges create barriers to its ability to do what it exists for: helping people. Addressing, and overcoming issues, not only provides the ability to reduce stress on staff but also speed up recovery time for patients.
So, what can the NHS do to improve services and patient care with technology?
Hospitals exist purely to help those in need – and the quicker they can treat and discharge patients, the better, right? No one enjoys being in a hospital, let alone being stuck there longer than medically needed.
According to Deloitte, patients that felt minimal stress at the hospital tended to be discharged sooner. So, reducing stress through any means possible, including your digitisation strategy, should be a fundamental focus.
One of the main causes of stress is a lack of information. It can be difficult for staff to keep a mental track of every patient, as well as their needs and history. So, when staff are asked about a patient and are unable to recall the information, this can increase stress levels for everyone.
Automation can be the saviour in this situation. Adopting a system where doctors have automated text messages sent through about discharging a patient, can significantly cut the time they spend in a bed.
Instead, staff can focus on sick patients rather than signing-off healthy individuals to leave the building. It means that instances, such as a patient staying in a hospital 8 months longer than needed, never happen again.
The benefits of automation don’t stop there, however. An automated operator can help better manage the hub of the hospital switchboards. Internal members call the automated line and are connected to the individual they require, so operators are freed to deal with critical external calls instead.
Whilst automation improves efficiency, communication is critical too.
Technology might not be able to create a fine-dining experience in hospital wards, but it can help patients pick meals. Say goodbye to the days of ticking an option on a physical piece of paper that requires a member of staff time to hand out. Automation allows patients to make orders digitally via a food menu on their TV, making the process easy and saving valuable time.
Investing in communication and collaboration tools such as video conferencing and virtual meetings can also make people more efficient. Travelling to physical meetings is inconvenient for the time-poor employee, but by moving the activity online, productivity can improve.
Adopting digital tools to aid communication – along with the automation of traditional infrastructures – can improve patient care. Technology can reduce stress levels for staff members, and, in return, diminish anxiety amongst patients, allowing for a faster discharge rate. Investing in the relevant technology has the power to make the NHS an even greater institution.This is a guest article by Tony Rich, Head of Global Propositions & Verticals – Healthcare at Unify.