In early May, I attended this year’s UK e-Health Week, organised by HIMSS UKand BCS and held in Olympia, London. The agenda was dedicated to the many exciting IT related initiatives contained in the NHS Personalised Health and Care 2020 Framework and Five-Year Forward View.
Like in previous years, conference discussions remained focused on electronic patient record (EPR) adoption, particularly among acute, community and mental health providers. However, this year concepts such as interoperability, population health, and the Triple Aim got some attention as well.
The push for interoperability garnered lots of attention and was a keen focus of presentations from the NHS. There are many interoperability projects underway across the UK, and it was heartening to see their progress. I look forward to seeing use cases emerge and wonder if next year, our customer Lincolnshire Health and Care could share success stories related to their new care portal initiative.
Speakers often mentioned the Triple Aim, pointing to interoperability as a major pathway to achieve the vision of a better patient experience, improved population health, and reduced costs. There was less attention paid to the big data analytics solutions needed to support population health activities, but as interoperability improves this will likely emerge as an important topic next year.
There was a large focus on the Global Digital Exemplars, selected from the most digitally advanced NHS hospitals to test and accelerate adoption of new digital health technologies. These 16 organisations all showed good progress in EPR adoption and movement toward better interoperability, workflow integration, and risk stratification. Part of the same NHS initiative includes funding 20 “fast followers” to learn from the Exemplars and more rapidly spread health IT innovation across the UK.
Some of the most exciting announcements included expressed commitment from the NHS and data suppliers to both share and create necessary interoperability data standards for the health and care sector. NHS Digital has formed a relationship with INTEROPento bring a number of interoperability networks together under one governance structure, including techUK. Also of interest, “The Alt-Report: The four enablers for creating a digital NHS” was unveiled at the event and outlines the core ingredients for successful delivery of the NHS’ technology agenda.
In the end, I was inspired and excited for the future of digital health. I’m proud that my colleagues at J2 and I can play a small role in supporting the vision of a paperless, interoperable and higher quality health care system in the UK.