Health and Care Expo 2019 Event Review

Polly Shepperdson reviews this year's NHS Health and Care Expo.

Adoption of digital technology was a theme that stood out from NHSX CEO Matthew Gould’s panel session. The need for the human element of digitisation has been spoken about in the NHS for a long time, but the focus in many cases is still the technology itself, rather than the people who use it, and this was certainly emphasised at the conference.

I completely agree that now is the time to really engage users for them to make the most of technology available, and for technology to work for them. This is a major drive for FDB.

In primary care, for example, we already work with two thirds of clinical commissioning groups across England, so that GP practices can use technology to make better informed prescribing decisions for the patients in front of them. This is having an impact on patient care with alerts helping GPs to make evidence based, locally appropriate, prescribing decisions based on the individual patients’ clinical record. A significant impact on the NHS prescribing budget is also being achieved – with CCGs last year reaching more than £100m of savings due to GP use of OptimiseRx prescribing decision support.

The challenge for us as an organisation now is about more than simply working with a further third of CCGs to expand this positive impact. It is about accelerating adoption of technology even further within our existing NHS user base, so that more and more GPs can embrace decision intelligence available to them. Part of this complex piece is about helping GPs to understand the mechanics behind prompts – exactly the kind of requirement that I think was underlined at Expo – and empowering them to validate and act on the patient information presented to them in alert systems. But it is also about giving GPs the means to participate in refining how such technologies are used.

This is about creating a safer and more efficient prescribing environment in the NHS, but one that will only work by communicating with the people at the coalface.

Read the full industry review in Health Tech Newspaper.