As the need for cost effective healthcare is increasing – could the digitalisation of healthcare transform patient care?

The strain on health and social care budgets means the NHS is facing a £30 billion funding gap by 2021 . Figures have shown that a rise in demand, due to long-term health conditions, is expected to require an additional £5 billion alone.i

The pressure on budgets is contributed by many factors including population growth, increased life expectancy and an increasing number of patients with chronic health conditions. Over a quarter of the UK population have a long-term condition. An increasing number now have multiple conditions, which require more specialised care.

One innovation that can play a major role in helping reduce the strain on budgets is the implementation of new smartphone health technology, which is playing an increasingly common role. The number of health apps on iOS and Android more than doubling in the last 2.5 years, to over 100,000.ii

“There are around 165,000 health related apps in the Apple app store alone ”

 

Separately, the UK Government has refreshed their digital health strategy and launched NHS Digital. NHS Digital is hoped to go some way to transform the role of healthcare and help enhance the role of digital health for healthcare providers as well as patients. NHS Digital will be supported by a £4.2 billion government investment over the next five years.iii

Around 80% of adults own or have access to a smartphone . With more ready access to healthcare apps and tools, and patients paying more attention to their health.

“Indextra research has shown that over four-fifths of doctors feel that the profession needs to embrace digital tools like their patients. ”

In addition, over 84% of doctors agree that digital developments will help support the efficient provision of healthcare and the rise of healthcare technology could help patients by optimizing doctors’ time.iv Indeed, 79% of doctors surveyed as part of the Indextra research agreed that the greater availability of digital tools would help free up doctor’s time and resources for those patients who require urgent care.v

The launch of the Indextra app demonstrates one of the ways that digital tools could help optimize doctors’ time while also supporting them by providing credible and verified information. It is clear that as patients embrace more digital tools, there is more of a role for digital tools to aid doctors in their everyday practice and help branch the gap between digital and healthcare solutions.

[i] Connected health: How Digital Technology is transforming health and social care, Deloitte Centre, 2015 (Last Accessed: September 2018)

ii] https://www.ft.com/content/ed3268f2-e620-11e5-a09b-1f8b0d268c39 (Last Accessed: September 2018)

[iii] https://digital.nhs.uk/about-nhs-digital/corporate-information-and-documents/nhs-digital-s-plans-for-2017-18/a-summary-of-nhs-digital-s-plans-for-2017-18 (Last Accessed: September 2018)

[iv] http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/mobile-phones/1407755/how-to-buy-second-hand-smartphone  (Last Accessed: September 2018)

[v] Indextra research, conducted by Censuswide, June 2018