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Future of Healthcare Q1 2023

We must continue to scale innovation to reduce pressures on the NHS

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Catherine Davies

Director, Digital Healthcare Council

Digital technologies provide a promising solution to help the NHS cope with pressures.


The NHS is facing seemingly impossible challenges. The demand for care is at record levels, with over 7 million people waiting for treatment. An estimated 1 in 10 staff posts is vacant. Extra funding is not yet having a significant impact on increasing system capacity and reducing waiting times.

The potential of technology

Digital technologies provide a promising solution to help the NHS cope with pressures. However, it is still early days for their widespread adoption.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare technology became an instant necessity. An increase in online appointments led to more patients seen compared to pre-pandemic levels. Digital care also contributed to higher staff productivity and better collaboration across organisations. This showed that it is possible to implement effective changes during a crisis.

Digital healthcare providers are helping
the NHS use resources more efficiently.

Opportunities for the NHS

Post-pandemic, digital innovation continues. Many companies want to be part of the solution for a sustainable future healthcare system.

Digital healthcare providers are helping the NHS use resources more efficiently. Livi, an online GP service, increases workforce capacity by encouraging GPs to work remotely and flexibly. This allows staff to split their time between digital and face-to-face consultations. Due to this, 90% of Livi GPs report working more hours each week.

TeleTracking is increasing hospital bed availability through electronically managing beds. Most hospitals calculate their bed availability by staff manually counting all free beds. TeleTracking’s technology helps quickly identify spare beds, on average reducing the length of hospital stay by 11%.

Other companies support the NHS by expanding care outside of traditional settings. This reduces pressure on hospitals that are operating above safe capacity levels. Technology-enabled care agency Elder matches patients with a live-in carer. Elder helps people leave hospitals faster by efficiently arranging ongoing support at home.
Remote monitoring provider Lilli supports people to live independently at home for longer. Its technology detects early signs of illness and enables faster intervention. This reduces bed blocking, unplanned hospital visits and emergency call-outs.

We must look at growing innovative solutions. They are leading to measurable benefits for patients and staff. Innovation will support us to keep the NHS’s original promise to provide a comprehensive service, free at the point of use and based on clinical need.

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