Vital signs: healthcare in the new everyday

A global crisis reshaped our world almost overnight and we’ve all had to reinvent our routines, quickly. 

But the time for emergency measures and ‘make do’ strategies has passed. 

Now, as you try to adapt to your new everyday in a way that works for you, your staff and your patients, it’s time to aim for the targets set out by the NHS Long Term Plan [LTP]: 

To establish a core level of digitalisation by 2024 and the operational and cost efficiencies that could save £1 billion a year.  

Four key digital priorities

There are four priority areas that need transforming to build an effective, successful digital future: 

  1. Core infrastructure
  2. Digital services
  3. Workplace tools
  4. Skills, culture and leadership

Let’s start with core infrastructure. A secure, cloud-based infrastructure will enable hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and community and social care organisations to share information and collaborate. 

The needs of those on the front line have made this clear. Customer priorities in the post-Covid world emphasise the importance of technology, with 70% pinpointing both network capacity and mobile working.

Secondly, healthcare needs fit for purpose digital services where all data is secure and you always know exactly who is using each system, site or service and what they need from them. 

Registrations to the NHS app increased by 111% during the pandemic, and now people have experienced the service, demand will never return to pre-Covid levels.

Digital tools for staff and patients, powered by the cloud and the internet of things (IoT), are another cornerstone for the ‘digital NHS’. 

Deloitte’s 2019 report ‘Closing the digital gap – shaping the future of digital healthcare’, highlights the characteristics of technologies that will encourage providers to adopt a digital future. 

They need to be easy to use and deliver measurable improvements, effectiveness, efficiency or quality of care. They also need to be agile, affordable and developed in collaboration with innovators and academia to meet the complex needs of healthcare. And they must be tailored to the needs of clinicians and patients. 

To underpin all of this, healthcare needs the right skills, leadership and culture to reach the LTP targets and create better patient outcomes.

The catalyst: connectivity

Remote working and telemedicine demand a cloud-based network solution so that health professionals can work, communicate and collaborate wherever they need to, securely and cost effectively. 

Legacy systems simply aren’t up to the job. The temporary solutions implemented to cope with the pandemic are fast becoming permanent fixtures and they need no-compromise connections. 

In the heart of the pandemic, NHS Digital blazed a trail. As the Covid crisis unfolded, NHS Digital completed the largest ever public sector data network migration, saving around £75 million a year. Now, this cloud-based system connects 12,000 NHS, social care, private sector and local authority organisations.

The safety net: protection

Being the most targeted industry by cyber criminals, it’s never been more important to protect your remote workers, patient data and the integrity of your network. The National Cyber Security Centre [NCSC] looked at NHS threat data to help strengthen the services’ resilience against attacks, and found 51,000 indicators of compromise by scanning NHS IP addresses.

Through a combination of good basic cyber hygiene and effective, intuitive security technology, you can counter these growing threats.. 

93% of security incidents can be avoided through basic cyber hygiene best practices, according to the Online Trust Alliance. For example anti-malware software should be upgraded on a regular basis, and all security technology should be straightforward and intuitive, so that everyone can use it properly. 

You just need a connectivity provider who integrates failsafe security into its core services, so connection and protection are two sides of the same coin.

The key: empowerment

67% of hospitals say that nurses are using their own mobile phones to support clinical communication because of a lack of modern internal channels.

For telemedicine and remote working to really deliver, your teams need to be given the right tools: technology that enables them to capture and share data, cut admin and minimise unneeded referrals and appointments, regardless of location or network supplier. 

The journey begins

By 2040, increased adoption of digital initiatives in the health and social care sector could increase GDP across the UK economy by around £33bn.

The far-reaching vision of the NHS Long Term Plan, where all providers have attained a core level of digitalisation by 2024, is the route map towards this extraordinary goal. 

To be part of this you need a fast, reliable network to connect your staff and their technology. You need a network that protects, with advanced security built-in. And you need to empower people with the right tools so they can achieve their best however and wherever they’re working.