The way that individuals interact with organisations of all kinds has been transformed in recent years thanks to the digital revolution. The healthcare sector is one of those affected and the opportunities that now present themselves mean that services can be improved, and better outcomes for patients and working practices for employees can be achieved.
Technology advances mean that funds need to be available to implement new systems and upgrade hardware and software. The Government has recently released details of a new funding package worth £86 million to improve access to new technology within the National Health Service. Not only should it help to drive medical breakthroughs, but it should also enable advanced digital services to be put into place across the wider healthcare sector.
Four stage funding
The funding will come in four parts and includes a £35 million “digital health technology catalyst”, aimed at helping innovative companies producing technologies which can be used by patients. This will work by match-funding the firms’ development plans.
Another £39 million will go to The Academic Health Science Networks to assess the benefits and to support the future use of technologies which are evidence-proven. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are focused on “innovative medicines” and devices will have up to £6 million made available to them over the next three years to help set up evidence-based testing in NHS trusts. The Pathway Transformation Fund, which helps NHS organisations integrate new technologies into their practices, will receive a further £6 million.
The new round of investment is aimed at giving NHS patients “world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible”, according to Health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy. “That can’t happen unless we support medical innovation and tear down the barriers – such as speed to market and access to funding – that can get in the way, especially for SMEs.”
The latest announcement follows quickly after a previous extra investment pledge from the government which is specifically aimed at improving NHS data and cyber security in the wake of the headline-grabbing WannaCry cyber-attack. A package of £21m of capital funding has been earmarked to initially increase cyber resilience at major trauma sites and to then improve national monitoring and response capabilities across the spectrum at NHS Digital.
Access to new and improved technologies will ultimately influence the quality of care that can be provided across UK health settings. It gives doctors, nurses, and other care staff the capability to provide the most modern and up-to-date care techniques available.
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