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Opinion: the 70th anniversary present the NHS requires

Pat Finlayson, senior product manager, telemedicine at Polycom reveals why the NHS is in need of a digital transformation

It is clear that digital transformation is necessary for the future success of the NHS. It needs to leverage new technology to improve the efficiencies of working practices and streamline the way patients can access its services.

This week, the NHS demonstrated its intentions to put technology at the heart of its patient care, launching a mobile application that enables patients to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and discuss urgent medical queries, much more conveniently. But it shouldn’t stop here. This technology can be used in combination with telemedicine – audio and visual technology – which, proven in the private and charity sector, can massively scale up the number of patients treated every day. Some NHS trusts are taking note, such as the state-of-the-art Cancer Centre at Guy’s & St Thomas’, which is using video technology to enhance treatment for patients.

We are moving towards a future where patients can book an appointment from an app and then receive on-demand treatment, medical advice and diagnosis through a video portal, at home or at work. This can help to deliver huge efficiencies across the NHS, reducing waiting times for treatment and outpatient care, whilst enabling frontline staff to attend patients that require urgent medical attention. Businesses will also see benefits of such technology, reducing the time staff need to remove themselves from work to receive treatment.

New technologies will be instrumental at solving resourcing challenges, driving efficiencies and improving access to care. As the NHS looks ahead to its future, harnessing the right solutions will be crucial to ensure it survives – and thrives – for the next 70 years.