As we approach the start of a new year, it is crucial to consider the progress and challenges of the healthcare sector’s ongoing digital transformation and anticipate what lies ahead. While there have been difficulties concerning digitising the NHS and individual trusts independently planning and implementing digital projects, there is a promising future ahead. As more trusts adopt user-friendly technologies like electronic document management systems, the healthcare industry will benefit from improved efficiency, streamlined processes, and better collaboration, leading to a more seamless and patient-centric experience.
Additionally, we will see the effects of more advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and robotic process automation in healthcare settings. Generative artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize personalized services and care recommendations by analyzing and interpreting vast amounts of data. However, it is essential to underscore the need for clinical input and the thorough governance and testing of healthcare technology solutions.
The demand for tech solutions leveraging patient data to improve the effectiveness of patient pathways in hospitals and contribute to the preventive care agenda will be at its peak. We will witness a broader use of robotic process automation (RPA) in healthcare, particularly technological bots that aid in subject access request (SAR) processes, streamlining and expediting tedious manual-intensive tasks. As such, commitment to improving efficiency and granting patients easier access to their data is demonstrated.
Nevertheless, several challenges remain in the NHS’ journey towards digital maturity. Although its deadline to implement an electronic patient record (EPR) and reach foundational levels of digital maturity was initially set for 2025, the deadline has been extended to March 2026, with implications for other competing technologies and services. Individual Trusts face significant challenges in planning and executing digitization independently, and a centralised approach to decision-making and adequate funding is crucial for a coherent and effective digital transformation.
For technology partners to the NHS in the coming year, the paramount focus should be on supporting the key contributors to their success: clinicians and patients. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a concentrated effort to articulate the economic case for digitization and the phasing out of paper medical records, leveraging technology for the betterment of the clinician: patient experience.
Jon Pickering, CEO of Mizaic, predicts a promising outlook for the future, anticipating a path toward a healthcare landscape that is not only more streamlined and efficient but, above all, inherently patient-centric.