The NHS is “one of the last bastions of analogue” but should be paper-free by 2020.
NHS England’s Digital Roadmap aims for the Health Service to be fully digital at the point of care within four years.
Declan Hadley, digital lead for the NHS in Lancashire, expects patients to be able to access their own medical history online and make appointments.
This would also give medics access to a patient’s full records wherever they were being treated – saving the NHS millions.
“The NHS is one of the last bastions of analogue, everything else in our lives is online,” Hadley says.
“This is all about how we can use technology much more, how we can give patients more information and get them to contribute to their own care by recording how they are feeling, for example, which could then be shared back to the clinicians.
“The future will be about how services and technology are intertwined.”
Currently, patients visiting different areas of a hospital are asked verbally what medication they are on.
Digitising this information would reduce the risk of error.
Apps on prescription, while already being used, will become commonplace, Hadley says, as will “social prescribing” designed to help communities help each other.
He and colleague Marc Schmid have come up with Rallyroundme.com, an online support network where friends and family can help a loved one stay safe at home by volunteering for tasks such as gardening or shopping.
Tech such as the endoscope-i adheres to the Digital Roadmap and helps patients get treated more quickly.
There are many other ways that tech is changing the face of healthcare.
NHS England has launched a £100million prize fund to back NHS trusts that want to become centres of global digital excellence.