Nationwide drive to digitise outpatient services

Today we've launched a nationwide drive to digitise outpatient services to improve patient experience and care quality – which could also help save the NHS up to £2.9 billion.

What this means for patients

88% of people use the internet in the UK but only 2% report having any digital interaction with the NHS – presenting a big opportunity to transform the ease and speed with which patients can access services.

From checking test results to remote speech and language therapy, we want to empower patients to access outpatient services via their phones, laptops or tablets.

Our Digital Outpatients programme aims to help NHS providers accelerate work from first principles, support the sharing of best practice, unblock barriers to uptake and deliver solutions that have been built with patients and clinicians from the start.

Throughout this programme we will also be exploring ways to drive quick diffusion of digital solutions from one provider to others. This will include working with NHS Digital and the National Information Board to improve technology and the use of data in healthcare.

Adam Sewell Jones, Executive Director of Improvement at NHS Improvement, said:

 “Everywhere you look people are accessing the things they need on a daily basis at the touch of a fingertip, and yet most patients don’t have the choice to interact with the NHS in this way. The opportunities to transform the way patients interact with and control their own healthcare are huge, and we want to help NHS providers across the country to tap into those opportunities.

“We are bringing together some of the best examples and expertise from the NHS and further afield to show each other what’s already happening and what’s possible. Our Digital Outpatient vision is an NHS which works around the patient, not just in a local area or clinic, but in their own homes, on the move, whenever suits them. Not only will this improve outcomes by speeding up many crucial milestones in care, but it can save money and help bring the patient experience in line with other consumer experiences.”

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