NHS ‘falling behind’ on technological advances

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The NHS has fallen behind other industries in terms of technological advances, the Health Secretary has said.

The health service has “barely scratched” the technology revolution, Jeremy Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said “little has changed” in the NHS compared to the retail, banking and travel industries. However, he said the NHS is on the “cusp of one of the most exciting changes in delivery of healthcare that will ever happen in our lifetimes”.

Speaking at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, Mr Hunt dispelled the “myth” that healthcare will become “less personal” in the future. He said that technology will make care “more personal and more tailored” to suit patient needs.

Mr Hunt highlighted a number of ways that the health service will benefit from advances in the next two years. Apps will revolutionise how patients with long-term problems will manage their care, he said. Using the internet to book GP appointments and e-consultations will “make a very big difference”. And enabling other parts of the health service to access GP records, such as emergency care and NHS 111, will integrate the service – meaning patients get better care.

He added that publishing performance tables for doctors will help to drive up standards.

Mr Hunt told delegates: “I believe that we have only barely scratched the technology revolution that is about to hit everything we do in healthcare and particularly everything that happens inside the NHS.”