Patients, healthcare workers, and visitors alike should have access to free Wi-Fi while using the National Health Service (NHS)—or, so said Martha Lane Fox at Tuesday’s National Information Board (NIB) in the UK.
According to one report on FirstWord Pharma, Fox—in response to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt’s, question regarding practice proposals to the NIB on “how to ensure increased use of new health digital innovations”—said the following: “Turning on free Wi-Fi access across the NHS estate could significantly increase take up of online health tools . . . it would allow patients staying in hospital to self-monitor their conditions using apps and maintain contact with social networks that can support recovery and promote well-being.”
Back in June, there were rumblings about plans to “improve health outcomes using technology and data,” and transform NHS services in the United Kingdom. One of the plans had been to give patients complete access to their “entire digital health record in real time by 2018.” According to NHS England, this branch of the plan was building on previous successes.
According to a June news release from NHS England:
“To underpin this and support the NHS on its journey to harness the power of data and technology, the National Information Board (NIB), established by the Department of Health and chaired by NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey, will look at the feasibility of turning the entire NHS estate into a free Wi-Fi zone.
“Wi-Fi would reduce the administrative burden on doctors, nurses, and care staff, currently estimated to take up to 70% of a junior doctor’s day, freeing up more time to be spent with patients.”
The Guardian, in a news release from June, reported that:
“NHS England see great advantages for patients and staff in pressing ahead with the change. Senior figures there believe it could revolutionize NHS services, with staff then able to use many more devices, such as skin sensors and other ‘wearable’ devices, to remotely monitor the health of people with long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes, which could help ease the NHS’s chronic staffing problems.”
At Fox’s presentation on Tuesday to the UK’s NIB, she went on to propose that patients with the most health and social care needs should be included first in any new digital tools being used by the NHS.
In addition, she said that at least 10 percent of “registered patients in each GP practice should be using a digital service such as online appointment booking, repeat prescriptions, and access to records by 2017.”
Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information and Chair of the NIB, said in response to Fox’s presentation: “These bold challenges…will galvanize work already under way to put power in the hands of patients, enabling them to take control of their care and improve their health.”
With so many potential changes on the horizon for patients, this presents even more challenges for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturers (as well as for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries in general). Manufacturers will need to remain vigilant for the potential changes coming to the creation of drugs—as it appears there will be more patient interaction in the upcoming years.
Lead Image Source: Official Leweb Photos.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery