Health services eye digital measures to improve patient’s experience

Health bosses hope digital technology will make accessing healthcare easier and more efficient for p

Health bosses hope digital technology will make accessing healthcare easier and more efficient for patients. Picture: DRAGON IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Health services in Suffolk and north Essex are exploring digital measures to help patients access vital services more easily.

The Suffolk and North East Essex sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) – a collective of health commissioners and providers working together in the region – is currently reviewing available digital technology.

It aims to assess how digital programmes can help improve the service for patients to make accessing care more efficient and easier.

Bosses are currently evaluating what systems are already available, and assessing what is working well in other areas of the country.

The information gathered will develop a scheme called the East Accord, which will allow such technology to be integrated with the health providers.

Among the measures will be online services for patients to book GP appointments and request repeat prescriptions on their tablets and smartphones.

Some GPs in the county have already begun rolling out these measures, which health bosses hope will be the beginning of a better experience for people.

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Kate Walker, digital lead from the STP, said: “Through our previous engagement, we know that local people do not want to repeat their story to different clinicians but they do want easy access to services, when it suits them. The accord gives us a great opportunity to look at how we could use technology to help us to do this and to support local people, staff and local communities to lead happy and healthy lives.”

Colchester GP, Dr Nirmalan de Silva, added: “The services offer our patients the choice of how they can order a repeat prescription with online requests complimenting the more traditional methods.

“It is making a positive difference to the people we serve as well as our local population.”

It will also enable patients to show different health services their medical history.

The developments were raised at Thursday’s Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board as part of an update on measures to improve health care.

Among the other efforts raised were an increase in the mental health budget from £103million to £111m and improvements to diabetes care which resulted in an ‘outstanding’ rating by NHS England.

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