In the last post, Dr Hannah Laidley outlined the obstacles to using technology on hospital wards. I was really challenged by the way Hannah took pride in that unglamourous dimension of being a junior doctor: getting the jobs done and getting the results back. So often we think all that matters is the way we talk to the patient. While that might be the bit that makes us feel good – and ensures the patient feels cared for – our unique contribution to the functioning of the ward is our ability to ensure that the jobs that emerge are done and the tests are chased. In today’s NHS this is all about using the technology (and hoping it works).
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, talks a lot about technology in health. However his goals are often more ambitious than those that Hannah described. By way of contrast, the new Long Term Plan for the NHS reports that WiFi is being rolled out across the NHS estate. What is remarkable is that this has taken so long. For comparison, it is 9 years since Starbucks rolled out WiFi across its stores.
A few months ago I posted a blatantly political blog that I wrote for Progress at the Labour Party. Here’s another about technology in the NHS. And for balance, here’s my summary of Matt Hancock’s own talk at Leader In Healthcare 2018.