On January the 8th 1991 I joined the National Health Service (NHS). As with all great career moves it was more by luck than judgement. But without that bit of luck I would not be able to count myself as fortunate to have worked in such an amazing environment or had the opportunity to work with some of the most fantastic people on the planet.
In what is now closing in on 30 years later, I have seen the service change in so many ways. I have read my share of 5 and 10-year plans. Some of which moved things forward and some which sadly did not. I have watched phases of decentralisation, centralisation, competition, and the national programme for IT! I have worked for Trusts, directly managed units, arm’s length bodies and health authorities. But what do I think the most important perspective is?
I am also a patient!
Much has been written on the changing healthcare needs of the country. It is a simple statement of fact that as a population we are getting older and suffer from more long-term conditions. Our world has changed. Sadly, it’s equally true that the health service was created to deliver care to a different set of challenges than we see today and despite efforts, it has not changed as rapidly as the needs of the people it serves.
As a patient I have experienced the highs and lows. The A&E services locally were outstanding in dealing with the immediate effects of accidental injury. But the same service simply couldn’t meet my treatment needs with a chronic condition that needed treatment across multiple providers and care settings.
I passionately believe that technology has a unique and indeed critical part to play in transforming the healthcare service we receive. From genomics and nanotechnology to simple online consultations – the opportunities are amazing. The role of technology in prevention, early diagnoses and rapid access to treatment in the most appropriate setting all improve patient outcome and improve efficiency.
We see every day that investment is being made in technology. But so much of what I see is invested in the existing paradigm. Replacing process with technology often like for like. To really make healthcare work for all of us, to be efficient and effective, I believe we need to change the shift to focus away from the service and onto the patient. Putting the patient at the centre of our thinking at all times.
Putting the patient at the centre of healthcare services has been talked about for many years and indeed practised every day by nurses, doctors and all hospital staff every day, but I believe we could do so much more with the help of technology.
Creating environments that work for everyone is in the DNA of Gemserv. Over the past 17 years Gemserv has been at the forefront of transforming markets to meet the needs of consumers. At this point in the health sector’s evolution we absolutely believe we can help drive the digital transformation of our incredibly valuable health service, so that it works for all of us.