A new briefing, published by the Nuffield Trust, takes a detailed look at the use of digital technology within the NHS as a result of the impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has speeded up the adoption of new technologies and innovative ways of using technology to reduce face-to-face contact between medical staff and patients as well as between NHS staff.
Report author, Rachel Hutchings asks what elements of this digital transformation represent change for the better and which may need further scrutiny before they become more deeply embedded.
The drive for the NHS to embrace digital technology was set out long before the arrival of COVID-19. Since taking up post, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has repeatedly emphasised digitisation of the health service as a top priority. Moving forward at pace has never been a strong point for the NHS, but over the last six months, faced with the need to make immediate and rapid changes to the way services are delivered and a lifting of some restrictions, it has done just that.
This briefing explores how Covid-19 has changed the use of technology in the NHS, what has enabled these changes to happen, some possible risks and downsides and what might happen next.