NHS England: Harnessing technology for better healthcare services

  • Solutions
  • 2023
  • Healthcare
  • Kingsley Hull
21 March 2023

NHS Digital is collaborating with ServiceNow to transform healthcare and, in turn, millions of lives across the country.

The waiting list for hospital treatment at National Health Service (NHS) England stands at more than 7 million patients—an all-time high, according to The Guardian. Although digital transformation has progressed with the introduction of remote consultations and in-home patient monitoring, healthcare systems have yet to fully adopt the power of technology.

A Deloitte survey of health system technology leaders and executives revealed 60% of respondents rated their organisations as just midway through their digital transformation journeys. Telehealth innovations can reinvent the way healthcare services are delivered—but only if managed properly.

Taking a holistic approach to healthcare services

Healthcare can better harness technology by embracing digital solutions on a systemwide basis. This involves encompassing interoperability of different systems, improving digital skills among the population and healthcare providers, and carefully managing patient data.

The UK government’s ‘data saves lives’ strategy epitomises this process. Successfully integrating systems will be key to using collected data effectively and safely and delivering more streamlined healthcare services.

That’s why the Health and Social Care Information Centre is collaborating with ServiceNow to deliver first-class service. NHS England (formerly NHS Digital)  intends to transform healthcare and, in turn, millions of lives across the country by consolidating four service management tool sets into a single, enterprise wide product.

Aligning technology and processes

Bringing together a nationwide estate of healthcare IT isn’t easy. There are many moving parts that must be considered. Each tool set involves varying processes and procedures, as well as different customer service desks.

ServiceNow enabled NHS England to connect teams and workflows within a single, integrated platform, eliminating silos. Everything is conjoined to make sure systems are interoperable and can communicate with each other.

The Now Platform supported the implementation of shared technology, such as contact centre, workforce, and knowledge management tools, to help NHS England gain a broad understanding of operating and support models. This level of insight allows the organisation to continuously optimise processes and refine strategies.

Connecting people

Stakeholders, end users, and everyone working across the NHS Digital enterprise also need to be aligned as part of the process. “It’s an organisational change, so it’s really important to ensure everyone is on board,” says Stacey Whyte, ServiceNow Customer Service Management product owner at NHS England.

“With this in mind, we ensured the project was business-led by setting up a group of champions to represent each area of the organisation and help to carry out user acceptance testing in the buildup to taking the platform live,” she explains.

“The NHS’s long-term plan also needed to be taken into consideration,” Whyte adds. “It’s vital to leverage a tool that can support and be responsive to changing needs of the NHS. This was made possible with the executive management team’s support—having a regular steering group with them and demonstrating what we are doing to ensure we align with the NHS vision.”

Enhancing the future of healthcare

Vast improvements have already been observed across NHS England since the Now Platform went live. So far, 43% of users state the service is faster, and half say automation is having a positive effect on their work, according to Whyte. This frees them to concentrate on more meaningful tasks.

NHS England and ServiceNow work collaboratively. The ServiceNow product, platform, and infrastructure teams oversee the data security of the entire NHS enterprise and act as data guardians. They look after a large number of data sets and make sure they’re available to those who need them.

Continued collaboration between NHS England and ServiceNow is essential to the ongoing performance of the project. ServiceNow is working to help NHS England further develop its telehealth innovations. One example is the implementation of data clustering and artificial intelligence, which can provide virtual agents to support service.

The healthcare sector is facing many challenges. Choosing the right partner—and the right solutions—can give healthcare providers the technology and know-how to succeed. This will enable them to deliver proactive healthcare services that ensure availability, accessibility, and security.

Find out more about how ServiceNow can support your digital journey with healthcare technology solutions.

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