Health Tech has been growing across the UK healthcare system for some time - both in the NHS and the independent sector. Even before the Covid pandemic, there has been a need to save costs and improve the quality of care as the demand in the system increases as the population ages and grows. Whilst there are good examples of the use of tech, the pace of change has frustrated many - caused in part by a general inability to focus on longer term investment.
Covid has, arguably for the first time, made widespread Health Tech investment an immediate necessity. In the past two weeks alone, we have seen the large tech companies support DHSC and wider government to help to track the spread of the virus and support those in need. Just last week, an accelerated procurement process for online triage and video consultations. Purchasers and providers will need to carefully consider the contract terms, including information governance/data protection requirements. Public procurement law will also be relevant, although exemptions may apply if the procurement is urgent. Whilst these investments have been expedited by Covid, their impact could contribute towards a longer term modernization of the NHS and independent healthcare throughout the UK for years to come.
The NHS is facing an unprecedented crisis. The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is putting extreme pressure on a health service already stretched to its limits, with staff in both primary and secondary care struggling to cope with demands – and unfortunately it looks like it will only get worse. This is where technology could make a difference. Using video appointments and consultations – telemedicine – ensuring that best practice, the latest research and data is shared across the NHS, could make it just that little bit easier for staff to do their job.