November 22, 2012 | Pamela
When health secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled the NHS mandate – the first ever ‘contract’ between the government and the NHS Commissioning Board – last week, we were keen to investigate how the document tackled the changing role of healthcare technology as it relates to how improvements are expected to be made in heath and care delivery.
The Mandate highlighted several key areas for improvement:
- preventing people from dying prematurely
- enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
- helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
- ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
- treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm
- freeing the NHS to innovate
Aridhia believes that these are urgent priorities. UK statistics indicate that one in three people are currently living with one or more chronic conditions, and with this number set to increase exponentially, Aridhia is committed to helping the NHS use clinical informatics and analytics to support the consistent, evidence-based management of patients living with chronic diseases.
By helping our partners and clients to transform the way they use healthcare data, we believe that we can help them to deliver improved services and outcomes to support patients with chronic illnesses and long term conditions, particularly diabetes, cancer, dementia, respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
What really struck us was the emphasis placed on the notion that the mandate’s objectives can only be realised through locally empowered, clinically-led and collaborative partnerships which seek to innovative and improve. This is key aspect of the mandate, and one which echoes our own beliefs.
Aridhia was founded on the principle that in order to bring about real change within healthcare, a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach is vital, which is why our team includes clinical experts from a diverse range of primary and secondary care backgrounds, alongside ehealth, data science and healthcare strategy experts.
The mandate also rightly states that the health service must treat people as individuals, rather than a collection of symptoms. We would argue that this requires the routine use analytics driven longitudinal patient data to become the norm. It is also why as a company we are prioritising the development of IT systems which speed the advance of personalised or stratified medicine.
Not only will the creation of information rich shared patient records provide the NHS with the ability to provide patients with more personalised care plans, but they are also an important prerequisite for patient-held care records.
Clearly the NHS must become dramatically better at involving patients in their care and empowering them to make decisions about their care and treatment. We believe that enabling the better use of patient and clinical information is a fundamental prerequisite to this becoming reality.
It goes without saying that patients should have electronic access to their care record, but real empowerment and a step change in quality outcomes will require patients to routinely become a source of information.
Patients are incredibly knowledgeable about their conditions and they should be given the opportunity to manage their own health. Patients are also a tremendous source of health information, not just information that is collected through telecare and telehealth devices, but information about their ongoing health, wellbeing and preferences. Only by having the capability to integrate and analyse this vital and rich source of health information with clinical management systems will health providers truly be able to offer patients personalised care plans that genuinely reflect them as individuals.
We are pleased that the government has chosen to use the NHS Mandate in seek engagement with the wider public to drive the service forward in ways which will improve healthcare for everyone. However, the mandate is just the first step towards change. It is now up to commissioners and healthcare professionals to work in partnership with industry and academia to turn this into reality.