The NHS has faced a number of significant challenges over the course of the past year: From waiting-list backlogs and staff shortages to winter pressures and the threat of a ‘tripledemic’. Our incredible healthcare staff continue to work tirelessly to tackle these challenges and deliver outstanding patient care in the face of intense demand. Innovation is playing a key role in supporting this and, as we head into 2023, there is no doubt that this will continue.
Throughout the past 12 months, we’ve seen some incredible solutions provided through healthcare innovation, to help address rising demand, reduce patient wait times and improve access to care. With the start of a new year comes renewed opportunity for innovation to make a sizeable impact on outcomes for patients and clinicians across the NHS.
So what should we expect from health tech in 2023? Here are the top three trends we're keeping our eye on…
A push for more connected care
Over the past year, there has been a significant move to more collaborative, connected care, particularly following the formalisation of Integrated Care Systems in July. As patient demand continues to rise and we work to tackle the elective care backlog, connected care is more important than ever, to ensure that patients can be triaged to the correct service as quickly and efficiently as possible.
It is also essential for enabling wider, more accessible remote care. Technology that allows for patients’ conditions to be effectively monitored from the comfort of their own home can help free up hospital beds for those in need of urgent care. Remote monitoring tools, virtual wards and digital advice and guidance channels which connect clinicians across different services will remain important for providing new, more effective methods to treat patients outside of hospital.
Increased focus on digital and health data security
Data is a highly useful tool for helping us improve health and care services. By handing clinicians and innovators key insights, we can help reduce healthcare inequalities and improve population health. However, as we increasingly rely on digital and online services for healthcare delivery, it is imperative to ensure that the data shared across these platforms is stored safely and securely.
There will be a continued focus for innovators in 2023 on placing patient data safety at the centre of product development. Ensuring that systems are able to share data and information securely, while protecting against external cybersecurity threats and human error from manual administration, will grow increasingly important as services across much wider regions begin working together.
Growing prioritisation of interoperability
Interoperability will remain a growing concern across digital health. This means ensuring systems are able to directly share data with other digital systems in use, so that key information can easily be transferred. With hundreds of digital systems already in use across the NHS, interoperability ensures new digital solutions can overcome silos and share information and data, without the need for additional manual input or admin from clinicians.
The agility provided by the immediate, shareable nature of patient data through interoperable systems is fundamental to providing better, more connected healthcare. Digital tools that prioritise interoperability promise to make care delivery easier, quicker and safer. Clinicians across primary and secondary care are able to access vital patient information more easily, without the risk of delay, error or omissions.
By reducing manual administration, interoperable systems also help boost clinicians' capacity, giving them more time to spend with patients. With increasing patient demand and the push towards more collaborative care, this will be absolutely crucial throughout 2023 and beyond.
2023 promises to be another year of exciting innovation that pushes healthcare forward to further improve care pathways, clinical communication and patient access to treatment. As we attempt to tackle the pressures and challenges facing the NHS, new systems that prioritise connectivity, digital security and interoperability will be fundamental for providing clinicians with the support to continue delivering outstanding levels of care.