UK digital health strategy boasts robust goals for chronic care

Britain's National Health Service is moving forward to foster remote medical monitoring and online health and medical services access as part of the United Kingdom's evolving digital healthcare revolution, according to a report in the Telegraph.

The strategy--which will include use of wearables, video link consultations, online prescription options and connected clothing--is focused on helping patients with chronic conditions and greater efficiency in providing medical services overall, with a goal of making virtual healthcare ubiquitous within five years.

Going digital could save the NHS up to £5 billion over the next decade as nearly 3 million British residents are projected to be dealing with a minimum of three chronic health issues, ranging from diabetes to dementia, according to the Telegraph.

"The proposals announced are a major step forward in using technology, data and information to transform the delivery of England's health and social care services," Andy Williams, chief executive of the Health and Social Care Information Centre, said in the article.

The digital medical services push comes as countries worldwide are embracing and adopting emerging tools, devices, apps and platforms to not only provide healthcare services to rural and remote populations faster and more efficiently, but also to help keep the rising costs of medical care down. As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, many of those efforts are taking place in the U.S., as well.

For instance, UnitedHealthcare is partnering with Doctor On Demand, American Well and Optum to expand virtual healthcare services. In addition, Miami Children's Hospital is tapping virtual reality to offer medical instruction for patients and educational insight for medical staff. The Cleveland Clinic also is deploying telemedicine to provide patients a virtual consultation within minutes.

The U.K. digital healthcare effort will allow patients to view entire health records online by 2018, and care providers will be able to tap real-time lifesaving data no matter where they are located in England, according to the Telegraph. The effort could turn the entire NHS estate into a free Wi-Fi zone, according to NHS England National Director for Patients and Information Tim Kelsey.

In the U.S., providers currently are testing the feasability of offering patients access to their clinical notes via the OpenNotes project.

For more information:
- read the Telegraph report