The benefits of improved IT in the NHS

20th December 2018

In 2015, the summer budget demanded that the NHS make some efficiency savings of up to £22bn while also increasing spending to £123bn by 2020 compared to £113bn in 2014/15. This is a big ask for the healthcare sector and we are left to ask ourselves how can this be possible?

The NHS can become more efficient and save money by using IT. For instance, if the NHS integrated an electronic patient record system (EPR), savings can be made on the management and storage of patient notes and as an after effect improves efficiency with staff being able to access patient details remotely. With good record systems in place it becomes easier to analyse data on patients. Nevertheless, with everything else the start up cost is incredibly high.

Some hospitals have already gone the in direction of using IT to improve efficiency such as Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

ERP systems could potentially alert hospital staff of deteriorating patient conditions much earlier, which can also prevent patients going into intensive care.

IT usage does not have to be anchored Hospitals. For example, many doctors are allowing patients to access their records to log and maintain their own health using Bluetooth enabled monitors and devices linked to their mobile phones. When the patient checks their weight or blood pressure, the equipment will record the information which is automatically sent to doctor’s surgery. This makes it more accessible to both patients and doctors, which also can show visual progression towards health goals while doctors can intervene when it is most useful.

A huge aspect that IT in the NHS can help with is spotting problems with patients and treating any conditions earlier, avoiding patients being admitted to ICU in many cases and reducing also reducing patients’ hospital stays.

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