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about 1 month ago by Silvana Hawkes

Will COVID-19 Accelerate the UK's Transition to Digital Healthcare?

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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.