Associate feature: Scotland must find a remote care pathway out of COVID-19
Tom Whicher, founder of DrDoctor and NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellow, on the role of tech in fighting COVID-19
Despite being universal, the National Health Service is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, a fact that is as true between countries as it is amongst the individual NHS Boards.
For its part, Scotland’s geography means it faces a unique challenge in ensuring that all patients receive the best level of care.
Providing a reliable and comprehensive service in Edinburgh is easier than delivering the same care in the Outer Hebrides. That’s why, as the immediate pressures of the Coronavirus recede, remote care must come to the fore to ensure that all regions can resume normal service as quickly as possible.
The new COVID-19 reality places a premium on effective remote communication. With patients now only travelling to hospital for in-patient visits when it’s absolutely essential, the goal should be to enable remote care wherever possible. Here, new technologies can help ensure patient care pathways are consistent and controlled no matter where the patient lives.
Some forward-thinking boards have already brought in new solutions like ours to help manage these and other challenges digitally. Tools like electronic patient communication platforms, video consultations, and remote assessments have helped them push care away from the physical frontlines during the pandemic. Now, with the peak hopefully behind us, they will be crucial in helping hospitals to gradually triage patients back into service on a needs basis.
And with the most urgent cases tended to, efficient appointment management systems will help slot in the millions of other appointments caught in the current backlog.
The time has come for health tech to step up. Continuing to rely on correspondence by post and other arcane forms of communication simply won’t cut it as we look to restore stability and efficiency to our NHS. Through tech we can help to bring down costs, increase capacity, and ensure that care is delivered first to those who need it the most. Only by embracing it can we forge a smoother path to recovery.
This piece was sponsored by DrDoctor