A data-driven look at how tools and technology have impacted ways of working, as well as emerging challenges and opportunities across the ecosystem

HETT Insights has partnered with Socitm Advisory, BCS and the Royal Society of Medicine to understand how the UK’s healthcare landscape is adopting and transforming with new digital tools and technology.

Our joint survey brings together the views of over 3,000 professionals from Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and social care, as well as local government. We received responses from various departments, roles and seniority to produce a comprehensive insight into how COVID-19 has impacted the healthcare system.

We have grouped the findings into the following topics: remote working, productivity, remote consultations, culture of innovation, digital upskilling and mental wellbeing. Now, we better understand how these new ways of working are affecting staff as well as changing expectations for the future. 

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What have we learnt about the real health tech state of play?

Unsurprisingly, since the lockdown, more healthcare professionals and local authority staff have been quickly thrust into the working from home life. Whether or not they have the tools, network or infrastructure in place to achieve that is another story. Regardless of exclusions and minimal work provided equipment, default remote working has inspired real ambition for transformation. 

There’s a clear correlation between the implementation of remote digital health solutions and increased productivity, with a real focus on the cut down of meetings. This gained time is essential right now and can be given back to those who need it most - employees and patients. One big challenge identified by the answers was good WiFi or lack thereof, so can we guarantee fast and reliable connectivity for all?

Remote consultations and digital services have been clear ambitions of the digital transformation laid out in the NHS’ Long Term Plan. Health tech and digital evangelists have long recognised and shared information about the benefits of remote consultations for both patients and clinicians. It’s become more important than ever with the majority fulfilling (or trying to) their duties from their own home. 

Remote Patient Consultations (phone, message, video) have become the norm across all care settings and accepted by patients - this needs to continue.

Missed appointments appear to have reduced and it’s apparent Digital Total Triage is challenging the assumption that a patient must be seen face to face. Rightly so, the survey respondents called for true electronic patient records that can be shared across all health and social care and more holistic systems to support this.

The narrative these survey results create is one of innovation, but also one that wasn’t ready to adopt or deploy this digital way of working just yet. When asked what challenges healthcare respondents faced when carrying out their roles, the main reasons given were insufficient IT infrastructure, lack of system integration and support and guidance from digital leadership.

Powered by the catalyst of COVID-19, this plan set out by the NHS has become a reality much sooner. As a result, inadequate training, education and even limited trust are hurdles we must overcome. We can see that there needs to be a much greater focus on helping staff and patients gain the skills to make the most of the switch to digital. 

“Digital innovation has been escalated and blockers have been removed to accelerate transformational change. Interoperability between systems has been moved up the priority list and logistical costs have been decreased.”

There needs to be a continued drive towards a digitally-enabled, holistic health service where the patient is truly part of the team and the decision-making process.

Many of those who have been driven to digital working as a result of COVID-19 have not previously interacted with the tools and technology required to work digitally. Perhaps one of the most compelling results of this survey has been that nearly all respondents felt that innovation is here to stay. How will we ensure that’s the case and those who said no change their minds?

Join us for our upcoming virtual event, HETT: Leading Healthcare Innovation Summit, running on 20-22 October 2020 where we will consider how both patients and clinicians are adapting to innovative tools and new ways of working towards a digitally connected ecosystem. We are joined by expert speakers such as American Cardiologist Eric Topol, Director of Standards & Interoperability at NHSX Irina Bolychevsky and many other fantastic contributors across the industry.

They’ll be examining COVID success stories and discussing pivotal considerations such as virtual consultation, remote monitoring, clinical pathways and more. Register to attend today and join us at our immersive event.

register to attend leading healthcare innovation

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