There’s no denying the reach of the NHS: most people in the UK, at one point or another, have relied on it for healthcare. But just as doctors today are receiving training that regularly gets updated based on the latest clinical research, so too the systems behind the NHS also require regular review.
Many parts of the NHS are running on legacy systems and technology, with doctors relying on old computers and siloed applications. At CGI, we’re working with doctors and healthcare providers to ensure their IT systems are as up-to-date as their training programmes. This transformation is a three-step process, beginning with the actual infrastructure and makes the best available use of new digital technologies and systems.
Many providers are using computers that haven’t been updated in years, running on legacy operating systems no longer under warranty. We’re updating them to latest generation platforms such as Windows 10, Linux etc., and providing other updates that allow them to run their systems faster and more reliably.
The second step in transforming the NHS is updating the applications landscape. My colleagues have written before about the importance of updating NHS technology to create a more efficient workforce, and needing to design healthcare IT around the needs of the providers – the applications are where this really comes into play.
Doctors and nurses collaborate together to deliver patient care; healthcare providers, especially in hospitals, often rely on multiple specialists. An A&E doctor, for example, might need consults from neurology and orthopaedics to treat a patient that’s just been in an accident – if that patient is admitted, his primary doctor will likely still need input from different departments to develop the optimal course of treatment. Each department needs to work together. Legacy systems perform critical functions such as patient administration and providing test results, but do so in a siloed departmental view. CGI is delivering a service that provides a single view of each patient, bringing together all available information on each patient for the healthcare provider to easily see; a clinical surface for all those delivering patient care.
The third step to true digital transformation of our healthcare system is helping doctors step away from the workstation at the nursing station or in the consulting room, and spend more time at patients’ bedsides. Last year we announced the MyPatient app, which is designed to do just that. Developed in partnership with a world-class provider, University College London Hospital, the mobile app allows doctors to view laboratory and radiology results and sign off on them while on the go, review patient information outside of hospital walls, and locate the patient’s bed within the hospital. UCLH doctors have found it saves them each at least 30 minutes of time each day that was previously spent tracking patients’ results and movements within the hospital.
CGI is unique in being able to provide all of this – infrastructure transformation, application transformation, and achieving digital transformation with mobile applications. But we’re also taking it a step further and considering the future of UK healthcare. We’re looking at how to future-proof our technology with an open-standards and open-source data approach to ensure the health and social care information future generations need is readily available, when and where they need it. I’ll talk about this more in my next blog post.