Ambitious vision outlines how technology will improve patient care

Mobile phone apps

A strategy to maximise the use of technology and innovation in health and care services was unveiled on Thursday (13 November), as part of an ambitious vision to make better use of digital technology to improve patient care and make the NHS more efficient by 2020.

Devised by the National Information Board chaired by NHS England’s national director for patients and information, Tim Kelsey and set up by the Department of Health – Personalised health and care 2020 sets out a framework to give patients and citizens more control over their health and wellbeing. It will see patients able to access their GP records by 2015, among other steps.

Digital 'revolution'

The report draws on recommendations from a recent report by the NHS Confederation's Mental Health Network, The future's digital: mental health and technology, which examines the role technology can play in improving mental health.

The framework also supports the Confederation's 2015 Challenge Manifesto, a bold call on the Government to ensure the right conditions are in place to enable locally led deployment of new technologies. 

The strategy responds to the eleventh ask in the manifesto which calls for a national framework that drives data sharing and innovation for local people.

Implementation plan

"We are delighted the strategy recognises the vision and ambition in the 2015 Challenge and that we will be working with the national bodies to create a meaningful implementation plan," the NHS Confederation's chief executive, Rob Webster, said on Thursday. 

"This new approach to working together on the delivery of national strategy is a welcome change in the relationship between the national system and front-line organisations."

The manifesto, devised by a coalition of 21 leading health and care organisation, followed on from the 2015 Challenge Declaration, published in May, which identified technology as one of the burning issues facing health and care.

Making technology work harder for patients 

The framework includes:
  • NHS ‘kitemarks’ for trusted smartphone apps which will help patients access services and take more control of their health and wellbeing in 2015
  • patients to be able to access their own GP record from spring 2015, and will have full access to care records by 2017 – patients will be able to record their own comments
  • patients will only have to tell their story once – with consent, care records will be available electronically across the health system by 2018 for urgent care services and 2020 for all services – improving coordination of care, particularly for those with complex conditions
  • introducing a digital ‘red book’ in 2016 – helping parents to manage their child’s early health records
  • ensuring the NHS remains a leader in fight against disease and as a hub for genomics research
  • developing innovative personalised medicines so treatment is right first time. 

Savings through innovation

The report came on the same day health secretary Jeremy Hunt called on the NHS to make up to £10 billion of savings, including through better use of innovation and technology. Read our response

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