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An interactive forum for around 50 key health professionals and health technology experts to examine future technology strategy and procure technology to improve efficiency took place on 9th July in central London. This event was organised by the organisation, ‘Inside Government’.

The UK government is committed to utilising technology to deliver better patient care and better value in the new health and social care system. Following the success of the Department of Health’s ‘Whole Systems Demonstrator’ programme, the largest randomised control trial of telehealth and telecare, the government has committed itself to improving lives, care and services with this technology.

The headline results from the programme, revealed that if used properly telehealth could result in a 20 per cent reduction in emergency admissions, a 15 per cent reduction in A & E visits and a 45 per cent reduction in mortality. Keen to deliver these improvements, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, announced seven pathfinders to pilot telecare and telehealth approaches to transform the lives of three million people by 2017 in the 3million lives programme.

Moreover, the Digital First Report, published October 2012 identified almost £3bn of efficiencies through the use of digital technology in the NHS. Foremost amongst these measures was the use of telehealth and telecare for early intervention, pre-assessment and the prevention of unnecessary face to face contact with the use of virtual clinics.

The opening keynote speech was on the subject: ‘Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care Through Integrated Digital Healthcare’ and was given by Michael Part, Head of Technology and Systems; London Region, NHS England. Mr Part’s speech outlined:

  • The role of innovation and technology in the new healthcare landscape
  • The forthcoming NHS England Technology Strategy and Roadmap: Setting the priorities for technological innovation and uptake in the new NHS
  • Delivering on the 10 year Department of Health Information Strategy and the Digital First Report: Unleashing the potential and delivering better care and cost effectiveness
  • The £260 million Digital Challenge Fund: Funding integrated digital health care to support improved patient safety and care quality
  • Creating electronic systems, linked to patient records, which talk to each other right across hospitals now
  • Realising the integrated digital future of the NHS

Other subjects covered on the day included case studies on the use of technology to digitally integrate health care records the move towards virtual GP clinics and the role of technology in the management of long-term conditions.

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