At present, to fight the coronavirus pandemic, health service worldwide are adapting to change to manage associated challenges. As a response to this, across the NHS in the UK, digital transformation for many areas of health is at the forefront, despite significant pressure on the national healthcare service owing to COVID-19 pandemic.
In the normal course, digital transformation that might have taken several months or years has been integrated into the system within days or weeks. This is action of health authorities as they see and vie to meet the need of the moment.
For example, in response to coronavirus, the value of online and video consultations for primary care is well recognized. Physicians and general practitioners are signing up for digital platforms, resulting in surge in demand. Within weeks, primary care services in the UK have witnessed a dramatic switch. Of the 1.2 million in-person consultations each day, majority of them are carried out remotely.
With Digitization, In-person Primary, Secondary Healthcare reduces drastically
According to a recent BBC report, general practitioners are now giving in-person consultation for only seven in every 100 patients. For secondary care too, similar progress happened, with widespread action towards digital-first outpatient consultations. And, some hospitals are providing iPads to patients hospitalized for coronavirus to visit their relatives. This eliminates the risk of infection.
Nonetheless, the key issue remains how well staff will be able to adapt to the new ways of working. Meanwhile, recommendations of the recent Topol Review are more important than ever. This includes increased training and resources for staff, and to ensure they have requisite skillset for digital working.
Besides, the sudden increased pressure on IT infrastructure has automatically led to day-to-day problems, for which clinicians are facing difficulty to solve.