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How will the new Information Age Affect Health and Care?

Is the information revolution going to transform Care situations?

We all spend our days with smartphone apps and chatbots on line, but the healthcare industry seems to be still largely wedded to paper in the UK. I recently had occasion to have an examination in an NHS hospital. The process was handled with great professionalism and efficiency and all the people I interacted with were friendly, motivated and competent. What struck me was that the entire process of recording information was almost entirely paper-based.

As a “data plumber” of more than 25 years’ standing, I find it paradoxical that almost everyone has a smart phone with many applications but joined up information and being able to use the devices we are all now familiar with has not had the effect in healthcare as in other industries. In The Times today (19th March) I see a headline “Computers beat doctors at spotting cancer” talking about using artificial intelligence software to analyse prostate biopsy results. Crunching numbers and looking for patterns is something computers are good at.

People are naturally concerned that their jobs might be replaced by software robots (softbots?). Personally, I don’t see it; although things will change. A robot might be more efficient at making a consistent cup of tea, but human contact is not going to be replaced by an Alexa on steroids anytime soon in my view. With the NHS reportedly short of tens of thousands of clinical posts (and several £BN) and other care providers struggling to find staff, let’s focus on where humans do best – personal contact and engagement – rather than crunching numbers, filling in forms and retyping data into spreadsheets.

Let’s talk about transparency.

You will already be familiar with the new approach to inspections from CQC. How is this affecting your services? Like the regulator, you’re looking for consistent reporting against known quality and performance measures and visible progress against action plans. You want to be confident that an inspection isn’t going to cause a crisis.

Good leadership and management drive continuous improvement. Having a consistent system for care quality management where standards and performance across a set of services is known, monitored, driven and auditable/evidenced 24/7 is what enables managers – “from Ward to Board”. Otherwise it’s a hard slog. You don’t know when you will next get that panicked call saying, “an inspector arrived – help!!”. Now where were those forms…?

Regulatory Matters

CQC closed its second phase of consultation with the industry on its inspection and monitoring approach. Some very important planning points for providers with multiple services come out which should be a focus for leadership:

“We will be able to undertake inspection at relevant headquarters for organisations owning multiple providers where this is appropriate.”

“We will still be able to focus enforcement action at any level of a group or organisation, but will also be able to hold overall leadership to account.”

From April, it’s going to be increasingly important for you to manage the regulator’s expectations with effective reporting on quality management. How are your plans for meeting the challenge? Some Care organisations reports are based on paper or spreadsheets acknowledged as being out of date by as much as 3 months!! Let’s get rid of some of the paperwork and use something that gives a coherent and consistent view of quality.

Make sure you really know

How will the new Information Age Affect Health and Care?

Rob Anderson
Managing Director
IPROS CUBE Ltd.
Tel: 01483 688 000
Mob: 07979 598742
randerson@iproscube.com

 

Rompa
August LTD
Grahame Gardner
Mr Trax Curtain & Blind Solutions
Inspired Inspirations
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