A new report by NAPC highlights what the future holds for digital healthcare based on lessons learnt from their national programme and the rapid take up of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, called No better time to make health tech happen, has been produced by NAPC Digital – NAPC’s digital adoption programme – and brings into focus insights from its support to NHS sites and suppliers over the past 18 months.
It praises the rapid adoption of technology across healthcare during the pandemic and shows how this can go much further to improve population health and workforce wellbeing. It also outlines a number of challenges to technology adoption and how these can be tackled through coordinated support.
Drawing on NAPC’s vast experience in population health, the publication highlights how deep-seated health, social and economic inequalities exposed by the pandemic can be tackled by technology but that this should be done using population health principles.
This includes understanding the needs of populations and embedding technology into a range of approaches that aim to serve these needs rather than seeing any single technology as the solution to better outcomes. The report says this is key to providing flexible, sustainable and preventative healthcare.
Based on insights from NAPC Digital participants, the publication outlines a number of other factors that should be considered when embarking on digital adoption, including:
- Digital exclusion among some patient groups because of their condition or socio-economic situation
- Teams needing appropriate time and training to build the confidence to use new technologies
- Complexities that exist around implementation – even with technologies that are user-friendly and evidence-based
- NHS teams having enough time and resources to appropriately review, curate and procure digital solutions
- Ensuring technologies are developed with a detailed understanding of the needs of different user groups such as accessibility requirements
The report highlights the importance of co-ordinated support being available to NHS teams to help them navigate technology adoption from initial review to implementation and the need for more opportunities for NHS teams and suppliers to collaborate.
It outlines the support offered by NAPC Digital, which helps NHS teams and suppliers to deliver accelerated adoption across primary, secondary and out-of-hospital services. The programme’s approach centres on embedding technology into population health thinking and provides participants with meaningful intelligence around digital adaption aligned to their population and workforce needs.
Since it launched in early 2020, NAPC Digital has supported 26 health systems ranging from primary care networks to larger ICSs to rapidly adopt and scale technology based on population health needs. The programme has introduced technology suppliers in the areas of chronic and mental health platforms, demand management, telehealth, digital therapeutics and self-management tools.
Dr Nav Chana MBE, Clinical Director, NAPC, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the dial on technology adoption like never before. Under the pressure of increased demand the NHS adapted – and so did our patients and their carers. We’ve learned that we need to innovate fast and one of the most important ways to build resilience and preparedness is through technology.
“As leaders in population health thinking, we believe that technology can help to make healthcare more accessible, sustainable and equitable in a post-COVID-19 world. The NAPC Digital programme gives NHS teams a voice in how technology is brought to their systems. In parallel, we work with suppliers to introduce innovative technologies that meet the population heath needs of those systems.
“We support our programme community with the knowledge and methods to adopt technology faster and more effectively.”
You can access the publication here.