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The NHS at 70: Three Points For Another 70 Years of Success

19 Jul, 2018

Clinicians and healthcare practitioners making a contribution every day to innovation in healthcare heavily influence our own work at Bitjam. With the NHS now in its 70th year, we’ve highlighted three key points that we believe will be the backbone for the future of the NHS, with particular focus on grass-roots innovation and discoveries that start with frontline staff.

Innovation is Imperative to Continuing NHS Success

Research shows that as a nation we’re getting healthier and living longer, but the demand for NHS services are increasing and becoming more complex. The Five Year Forward View has a focus on strengthening access to high quality GP services and primary care – the largest point of interaction that patients have with the NHS. Digital innovation is key to bridging the gap between demand and quality GP services.

A key point to make is that digital and technology transformation in the NHS has revolutionised patient interaction. Digital technologies have seen a shift in the way people are choosing to transact. Consumers are voting with their fingers rather than their feet, choosing to transact via mobile apps rather than retail parks and high streets. This also translates to healthcare – there is a demand for convenience such as online GP appointment booking. With a growing demand for appointments, and the technology available to provide such a facility, this is a clear example of the importance of digital innovation.

Frontline Healthcare Workers Need Support for Innovation

Digital innovation needs to be wrapped around the needs of patients. Truly innovative approaches to improving care and/or improving efficiency through technology often start on the frontline. Healthcare workers who take care of the general public and use the systems created to support them on a daily basis, making them the most qualified to make suggestions for innovation. They understand what people want, look at the evidence and get a strong business case. They are most willing to roll up their sleeves and actively make beneficial changes to systems and platforms to improve patient care.

We believe that a modern NHS means clinicians need to be more tech-savvy than ever before, to be able to understand how to respond to gaps in facilities that could be bridged with technology and digital innovation. With the support of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) – an NHS England Initiative delivered in partnership with Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) – clinicians are gaining the confidence to recognise gaps and present innovations that bring greater patient benefit.

Technology for Improving Patient Care Pathways

There’s a lot of media coverage on data protection, but patients are happy to share their data when they know it’s for their own care. Focusing on building secure patient systems will increase their trust and confidence in how data is used in order to engage people in a way that resonates with them.

Our recent work with BeAble – a post-discharge system designed to improve patient-clinician relationships and the promotion of patient wellbeing – is an example of improving patient care pathways as it offers an effective solution to the problem of co-morbidity and poly-pharmacy. You can read the full case study here.

The Next 70 Years of the NHS

In the future we want to see more support for health professionals and not just through the entrepreneur leadership programme but also on the frontline, with basic digital awareness and training. Such training reduces the problems found in interoperability within healthcare as everybody receives greater levels of training.

At Bitjam we like to think that the future of digital and technology innovation in healthcare is a system built on recognition and response. We want our solutions to help everyone – patients and professionals alike – ensuring inclusivity, equality, diversity and control. We believe that the NHS at 70 shares these values and we’re looking forward to contributing the technology that supports all users of this unique healthcare system.

We’re always up for a discussion about any topics or blog posts we share, so feel free to join in the conversation on Twitter or drop us an email.

Techtalk

AI Series Part Three: Integrating AI Technology with Existing Services

8 Jun, 2018

The final part of our three part AI Series will focus on the ways you can consider adopting AI for your own systems, how to approach decision-making and the ways in which Bitjam can assist you with the transition.

How Can You Introduce AI into Your Existing Technologies?

At Bitjam, we use the R&D cycle to understand the needs of your business, the technology you have available and the most effective way to introduce AI to your systems. The initial discovery phase helps us to understand your system and business objectives to provide an accurate and “right-first-time” solution.

Bitjam will then explore the possibilities of how machine learning can augment your existing technology, and push the boundaries to see if it can allow diversification of your business.

To prevent overwhelming both you as a business stakeholder and the actual technology available – man and machine, if you like – we always recommend starting with a smaller project within your existing technology-reliant infrastructure that could benefit from cognitive technology.

Using co-production techniques and agile methodology as a tool for collaboration, Bitjam and your business can then consider ways in which AI could be introduced to simply update your system rather than require a complete overhaul that might cause disruption to your workflow.

Bitjam are keen to introduce the idea of AI adaptation to move businesses – both locally and globally – forward in a positive way, and we understand that a huge undertaking both financially and in terms of re-organising massive infrastructure is not usually a viable option. We’re here to lend you our experiences and help you make small yet revolutionary changes to your business.

Call or email us for a chat! Maybe you’re not sure how AI will even fit in with your business, but with so many of our projects now demanding IoT solutions, we’re sure we can help you find the right solution to bring your services up to date.

data to intelligence

Interoperability in Healthcare

4 Apr, 2018

What Is Interoperability in Healthcare

Interoperability is the extent to which systems and devices can exchange and interpret shared data. In healthcare, effective interoperability occurs when IT and software systems to exchange shared data to create information that can be used to assist clinicians and other medical professions with patient care.

Issues Healthcare Staff Are Currently Facing

“Staff suffer from increasing workload and stricter performance measures with less flexibility. This has caused psychological and physical stress…” Science Daily.com

It’s no secret that digitising healthcare IT systems has been a slow and frustrating process for all stakeholders involved, especially the end users who have the responsibility of delivering safe patient care in a secure manner. This adds further pressure to staff who are already suffering from increased workloads and limited resources.

“We physicians have the longest training time of any profession, yet we now spend roughly two-thirds of our workday as data-entry clerks, tending to digital paperwork and administrative burdens” – WSJ.com

How Is Data Currently Manifesting Itself in Healthcare?

  • Notes entered into the EHR (electronic health record)
  • Documents that have been scanned as image files or pdf documents
  • Discrete data such as lab test results.

“The data arrives from many different sources and systems and in multiple formats. It has to be parsed into a format that everyone understands and has been trained to act upon in an appropriate manner” Alan Brookstone

The Challenges

  • The Tech

Data presentation can negatively influence decision making if it is presented in an illogical or intuitive way

  • Human Skills

The computer skills of all staff members and knowledge of their EHR has a significant impact on data interpretation. There are many reasons why some people are less digitally literate than others.

  • Upgrades and Disruption

According to AmericanEHR one of the most frequent complaints of users is that their EHR does not have the necessary tools or capabilities to perform a certain function. Sometimes the staff are unaware that their EHR has the functionality as they haven’t been trained to use the product properly. In other cases their system may require an upgrade. Upgrades can be complex and entire servers may need to be shut down for maintenance. Consequently, upgrades are often delayed because of the disruption.

How Can We Succeed?

Lack of interoperability leads to poor outcomes, therefore the issue must be tackled to ensure quality control.

We believe merging simple-to-use, reliable technology and adequate human support and training will result in the ultimate success of any EHR implementation.

So a move towards cloud-based systems will have a definite advantage as the software is updated centrally by the vendor with limited need to update technology at the user end.

The most significant impact would become apparent with changes to government regulations. G Cloud is an initiative that assists with the procurement by public sector departments in the UK of cloud based commodity IT services.  Traditionally, vendors have to be certified as compliant by the Department of Health which inhibits better products and slows down new system implementation. G Cloud is a way of shifting away from more primitive systems and offers a positive step towards improving the efficiency of EHR software and communication tools.

At Bitjam we pride ourselves on finding continuous ways to improve developer documentation, with cloud-based systems and use of more consistent data design at the forefront of what we do. Our mission is to use technology for social good, so if you have a digital healthcare problem that you’d like to solve, email us at [email protected] to find out more about our previous work.