Will COVID-19 Accelerate the UK's Transition to Digital Healthcare?
Back in March 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the UK with full force, healthcare technology stepped up and armed clinicians and healthcare professionals with the tools they needed for the fight they had ahead of them. From communication apps to telehealth solutions, healthcare technology went from nice to have to crucial almost overnight. It’s the transition to digital healthcare that has helped healthcare professionals maintain vital health services and communicate with patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. Without these emerging technologies, GPs and other healthcare professionals would not have been able to hold video consultations with patients or maintain services and the impact would have been catastrophic. There is no denying that in the last 6 months we have witnessed a significant transition to digital healthcare in the UK, but many will question whether this will last or will healthcare’s digital transformation slow down post-COVID. According to the UK government, Britain is home to thousands of health tech start-ups, with more than 100 with the potential to become unicorns, a start-up company valued at more than £1 billion. It’s the second fastest growing sector in the UK tech space and is hot on the heels of fintech. During the pandemic, primary care was hurled into making appointments fully remote to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and to avoid unnecessary travel and contact with others. Innovative telehealth solutions like Nye Health and Heydoc rapidly created secure phone and video consultation technology that could be rolled out in minutes to overcome the challenge of remote appointments. Adoption of these healthcare technologies and the switch to ‘remote by default’ GP appointments in the future, as proposed by health secretary Matt Hancock could not only improve the patient experience but could also enable GP’s to facilitate more appointments. Hancock has recently said that remote GP appointments or tele-consultations should be the first port of call unless there’s a compelling clinical reason not to. According to NHS figures, 99% of GP practices are now activating remote consultation platforms. It is thought that remote GP appointments will become the new normal where possible, but consideration must be given to those who do not have access to the necessary technology or those with complex health needs or learning disabilities. DP Connect is a specialist, technology-focused recruitment business with practices covering several disruptive technologies and a particular focus on the healthcare and fintech sectors. We offer our clients the complete suite of recruitment services: contingency recruitment, retained search, outsourcing, and fully managed solutions.
How the Pandemic Proved that Cloud Technology is the Future
Digital transformation and adoption of cloud technology have been hot topics and a key priority for many businesses, but the COVID-19 pandemic not only sped up the need for digital transformation it also proved that cloud technology is the future. A recent study showed that 91% of IT leaders are changing their cloud strategy as a direct result of the impact of Coronavirus. While this number is high, it’s fairly unsurprising. Back in March when lockdown was enforced across the UK, businesses had to adapt almost overnight to continue to operate remotely and those that had already adopted the cloud found this transition more seamless than those that hadn’t. Remote working and the flexibility of the cloud go hand in hand and as new future of work emerges with more employees than ever before working from home, businesses will likely depend on cloud technology throughout 2020 and beyond. The impact of cloud technology during the pandemic includes: Enabled remote working and access to platforms from home Reduced costs and provided flexibility during uncertain times Saved the time of internal teams with automatic updates and easy access Ability to scale up and down to meet the needs of the business No business was prepared for the pandemic or the way in which it would disrupt their business, their revenue streams or their ways of working, but the great thing about cloud technology is that it helped businesses be prepared by default. While they are no means new concepts, cloud services like video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have seen an increase in adoption since the beginning of 2020. As a result of the pandemic, more and more businesses have come to rely on these services to hold meetings with clients, suppliers and colleagues. Businesses that had already undertaken cloud transformation were able to continue operating without any restrictions from their technology, they were already prepared for remote working but may not have realised it. During the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses have been focused on cutting costs and ensuring employee safety and cloud technology has played a vital role in achieving these objectives by offering flexible monthly subscriptions and platforms that can be accessed by employees from any location. Around 66% of IT leaders have said they will continue to use cloud services once workers return to the office, when this return will take place is currently an unknown for many businesses in the UK and a shift in attitude towards remote working could see permanent infrastructure changes.