Delivering the benefits of digital health care

Delivering the benefits of digital health care

Digital technologies are creating a new and rapidly changing global health care landscape, and are transforming the delivery of health care and the management of population health.

UK Head of Healthcare

KPMG in the UK

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delivering the benefits of digital healthcare

Digital technologies are creating a new and rapidly changing global health care landscape, and are transforming the delivery of health care and the management of population health. There is also a growing consumer-based movement, with the public actively seeking out information on their health and demonstrating enthusiasm about using digital technologies to manage their health and communicate with their health care provider.

In the past, the NHS has experienced significant difficulties in realising the benefits of technology. For example, while the UK’s National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) had some notable successes, including digital imaging and online appointment booking, it failed to digitise the hospital and community sectors, leading to its expiration in 2011. 

The English health system is now reaching a digital tipping point. After years of lagging behind primary care, where the majority of GP practices have used electronic health records (EHRs) for over ten years, community- and hospital-based services are beginning to catch up. 

There is no doubt that technological transformation will be one of the major differentiators between successful and unsuccessful providers over the next decade. However, navigating this new digital landscape is challenging, and there are many pitfalls. 

The Nuffield Trust has researched the impact of digital technologies in health care, particularly on workforce and productivity, to offer health care leaders an overview of the digital terrain and the possibilities it offers. Importantly, we have also looked at the pitfalls of technology-enabled change and how they are to be avoided. 

We have drawn on an extensive literature and evidence review; interviews with 40 leaders of health care organisations that have been actively pursuing a digital strategy, as well as leading technology suppliers; and a small survey of a panel of NHS leaders in primary, community and secondary care. 

Our research aims to help health care organisations grasp the biggest opportunities to significantly improve outcomes, experience and efficiency by exploring:

  • why it has been so difficult to successfully deploy information technology in health care in the past, with seven lessons for the future
  • seven opportunities for technology to improve productivity and quality.

For further details :

Lessons for successfully implementing an effective digital strategy

  1. Transformation first 
  2. Don’t ignore cultural change 
  3. Pay attention to system design: present the right information to the right person at the right time 
  4. Invest in analytics 
  5. Expect multiple iterations and continuous learning
  6. Support integration and interoperability 
  7. Ensure strong information governance 

Opportunities for delivering digital health care to drive improvement in productivity and quality of care

  1. More systematic, high-quality care 
  2. More proactive and targeted care
  3. Better coordinated care
  4. Improved access to specialist expertise
  5. Greater patient engagement
  6. Improved resource management
  7. System improvement and learning

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This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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