From providing healthcare workers with the right information to supporting patients to become active partners in their own health and wellbeing, NHS Scotland has been working to change the care they deliver for the better. Outlined in the eHealth Strategy and the related eHealth Vision, all health and social care providers across Scotland are involved in bringing about more integrated, effective and efficient care.
But transformation isn’t something that is easily done and comes with a range of challenges. Already highlighted by NHS Scotland, problems like infrastructure disparity across areas and gaps in system integration are potential roadblocks to successful change, and are compounded with additional issues like increasing financial pressures.
To support sustainable transformation that meets NHS Scotland’s aims and overcomes these barricades, it’s important to have IT that adds value both now and in the future. That’s why we’ve looked at how the right technology can be used to help you reach your goals, including those outlined in the eHealth Vision.
Future-proof your organisation so you can focus on your aims
There’s always going to be things that crop up and disrupt how you work. Whether it’s large-scale – like the recent reports from the Royal College of Practitioners (RGCP) about Scotland potentially losing 4% of its GPs – or something smaller, there are steps that you can take to minimise their impact when they do occur.
System-agnostic solutions are something worth considering, as they can help to curtail the disruption that can come from change. That’s also the case with scalable solutions like Cloud Telephony, which allow you to both accommodate for growth or downsizing.
Systems like these give you a degree of flexibility and allow you to plan for what might be coming ahead, so that you can continue to work on delivering on your eHealth aims both now and in the future.
Online services to help patients to better-manage
Part of the eHealth Vision’s focus is to better support patients to “communicate with NHS Scotland”, and to help them to “manage their own health and wellbeing” so that they become “active participants” in their own healthcare.
It’s a target that’s already being worked on nationally with the relaunch on NHSinform.scot, which provides “answers on everyday questions about your health” for patients across Scotland. But taking steps to support patients to better manage their own health via online services can be tackled by practices and organisations on a local scale too.
Running a patient-centred practice website can really benefit patients while helping to make the eHealth Vision goals attainable. It can be tailored to your patients’ needs and can include resources like health and care information or links to symptom checkers, so that they can look up their concerns and become more informed about their own health. You can also provide options that allow patients to book or cancel appointments and order repeat prescriptions by accessing your site.
It means that you can make patients more aware and involved in their care, and support them to better-manage – all while helping to meet national goals.
Efficient working practices
Any organisation will benefit from finding ways to work more efficiently and for healthcare providers across Scotland it’s no different. That’s why NHS Scotland has outlined in the eHealth Vision the need to “maximise efficient working practices”.
Having something as simple as digital signposting can bring about efficiencies since it can streamline a patient’s journey within your service and can contribute to timely appointments. Patients can also be supported while in the practice with systems that allow them to check themselves in for appointments when they arrive and lets them book or cancel future ones. Front of house staff can benefit from this too, as it reduces the pressure they face from long queues at the reception desk.
Staff can also save time and work on more pressing needs with extra support from end-to-end solutions that hand the management and maintenance of your IT over to experts. By having pre-defined SLAs and break-fix agreements (you can read more about this in our article here), you can make sure you have the support you need, when you need it most – which helps you and your organisation to work more efficiently.
While these end-to-end solutions largely benefit staff working on IT projects and systems, those heading up practices and Health Boards – or other organisations – can be supported with better working practices too. With help on document, compliance and practice management through Intradoc247, they’re given the tools to support the quality and delivery of care. Supporting managers also feeds back into the eHealth Vision, which makes mention of the need to provide those in these roles with “timely management information” that they can use to “inform their decisions on service quality, performance and delivery.”
It’s also worth noting that efficiencies are often cost-effective and can and even bring savings, meeting the eHealth Vision aim of ensuring “value for money.” That’s why working towards efficient working practices can prove really useful in helping you to meet your aims.
Leaders in digitally supported care
By considering the above points, you can work towards bringing about sustainable and transformative change for the better. Teams can work more collaboratively and can collectively ensure the success of goals across Scotland. Not only that, but patients can be empowered to play a more active role in their care and the services they receive too.
Altogether, the right technology used in the right way can provide an effective support in achieving the eHealth Vision aims, to the benefit of the long-term improvement and capacity of Scotland’s healthcare system.