NHS should embrace technology revolution
According to Mr Hunt, the health service has barely scratched the surface of potential advances and fallen behind major industries.
Mr Hunt made the comments at a conference in Manchester, UK. He said the NHS needed to learn from the banking, retail and travel industries – all of which had drastically cut costs yet improved customer service.
“I believe that we have only barely scratched the [surface of the] technology revolution that is about to hit everything we do in healthcare and particularly everything that happens inside the NHS,” he said, adding that the health service was on the “cusp of one of the most exciting changes in delivery of healthcare that will ever happen in our lifetimes.”
“If you look at banking, half of people do their banking online, that rises to three quarters of under 35s…the retail banks have actually cut a third of their costs by persuading us to do all the work that they used to do.”
The Health Secretary said that technology would mean increasing use of apps to help those with chronic conditions to manage their care, with increasing use of online appointment booking.
“The biggest myth that technology can help us to bust is this idea that, because of financial pressure, because of the aging population, because of the huge challenges we face, we inevitably have to accept that our care will become less personal and less high quality than we have been used to. Technology will help us do exactly the opposite; it will make care more personal, more tailored, more in tune with our demands as an increasingly affluent and demanding population.”
However, at the same conference, NHS bosses implied that patients do not trust the Government on medical records because they have lied to them about other, previous plans for the health service.
Plans to extract patient data from GP files in the UK have been delayed for six months owing to concerns about confidentiality as well as criticism regarding the way the national data sharing scheme has been communicated to the public.