New leaked report highlights NHS England plan to transform NHS 111 service
In the healthcare sector, technology has already been used to update patient records, improve care delivery and streamline processes. Yet AI is increasingly being heralded as a technology to achieve further breakthroughs in the sector.
A leaked report, viewed by The Telegraph has revealed that NHS England in the United Kingdom is looking at ways to utilise new technologies to combat the growing pressures within the healthcare industry. One area of interest is the adoption of robots to support its NHS 111 service by 2018, which will serve up to 16 million enquiries, which can be resolved online.
Effectively triaging patient enquiries will then enable the health service to place greater emphasis on providing care to those in need, amidst an ever-growing strain on public services. Last year, the service saw a rise a non-emergency calls, leading the service to buckle under the strain.
The news has been met with mixed reviews, yet the use of algorithms and data analytics is growing exponentially across the healthcare industry. The NHS is gradually rolling out its new online 111 service across the UK, utilising algorithms will therefore be the next step in providing exceptional patient care, despite public concerns.
An NHS England spokesman informed The Standard: “If it frees up time for staff to spend with those patients who do prefer a direct conversation, that should be a win-win."
However, Joyce Robins, of Patient Concern, has condemned the decision: “I think these plans make very unfortunate assumptions, that everyone has access to computers and smartphones, when in fact many elderly people do not.
“I think it’s also wrong to assume that people want to deal with their health in such a depersonalised way and I would be very fearful of the kind of mistakes that could be made, when you are relying on people who are poorly and often confused to work their way through computer questionnaires."
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Whether the public likes it or not, growing pressures on public services is leading technology to pave the way, transforming the way in which care is delivered and how patients are treated on a global scale. From health wearables, to predictive data analytics, technology is reshaping the ways in which we live and work, with new breakthroughs in research and development providing better quality of life for patients than ever before.
Research by OpenText has also revealed that UK consumers see the advantages of utilising technology within healthcare. A quicker diagnosis was identified as the biggest benefit, with one in three (33%) UK consumers believing robots would reach a decision on their condition much faster.
As well as faster diagnosis, one in four (25%) British consumers believe they would get a more accurate diagnosis from AI, and a quarter of UK consumers (25%) said robot technology would mean they wouldn’t have to rely on booking an appointment with a GP.
The use of new technologies is also part of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View , which will see the industry transformed completely by 2025. Jeremy Hunt has previously stated that by the end of the year, he will ensure patients are able to access a number of healthcare services through one central core mobile platform, such as booking routine appointments, booking repeat prescriptions and looking at medical results through mobile apps or online.
Commenting on these findings, Mark Barrenechea, CEO at OpenText has said: “Thanks to parallel processing, big data, cloud technology, and advanced algorithms, AI and machine learning are becoming more powerful.
The Digital Revolution will drive an increasing reliance on self-service technology, machine to machine (M2M) communication and AI, and there is no denying that every job in every industry will be impacted. The opportunity for innovation and change is limitless.”
Technological advances have led to a growing level of trust amongst British citizens when it comes to AI and healthcare. In one recent report, PwC revealed that over a quarter of Brits would now trust robots over doctors with heart surgery.
NHS care homes are better than private, report finds
A new survey has found that 60% of people with parents in NHS care homes believe the quality of care has improved, compared to just 49% of respondents with parents in private care facilities.
The survey was conducted by Kepler Vision Technologies, an AI-driven company formed at the University of Amsterdam. It was carried out among UK adults with parents over the age of 75.
Respondents cited more capable care staff and better monitoring systems as being the main reasons for improvement.
However those who do not have parents in assisted living facilities had a different viewpoint - in this case only 35% of respondents believe that NHS facilities are improving, compared to 32% who believe it is only improving in the private sector.
Only 18% of people whose parents live with them or independently believe care home staff are able to look after residents to a good standard.
Kepler Vision say this difference in opinion is due to perceived budget cuts and financial pressures, with 67% of people commenting that a lack of funding has had a negative effect on care in both NHS and private care facilities.
Other key findings of the survey include:
* Out of those who say quality has declined in care homes, 69% say the NHS is dealing with budget cuts and increased financial pressure, while 65% also said that the private system is dealing with these pressures too
* 55% said that they or their parent have money saved specifically to pay for their future care
* 35% said the idea of their parent in a care home makes them feel frightened, although 32% say it makes them feel secure
* 52% are worried about their parent catching COVID
* 47% are worried about their parent being lonely
* 46% are concerned they could fall over alone
The announcement of this research follows the UK government's decision to delay presenting its social care budget till the autumn.
Commenting on the research, Dr Harro Stokman, CEO of Kepler Vision Technologies said: “While it is good to see that people recognise the importance of staff and face-to-face interaction in elderly care, the huge gap in opinion between those with parents in care and those without shows that there are unfair negative perceptions around the residential care space.
"More can and should be done by care homes to give people the confidence that their relatives will receive the very best care - by highlighting the excellent work of staff and how well they are able to monitor resident’s needs with easy-to-use technology.”