Digital healthcare to revolutionise the NHS over the next decade


NHS patients with long term illnesses could soon be able to monitor their conditions remotely through high-tech clothing and wearable gadgets which will link to their medical records, under new proposals announced today.

Within five years patients across the country will be able to go online to speak to their GP, order prescriptions or view their health records as part of a nationwide digital revolution.

People suffering from chronic conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure could be continuously monitored remotely through wearable skin sensors or smart phone apps with data directly uploaded to health records so health problems can be spotted immediately.

Technology that is able to monitor heart rate, diet alcohol intake and sleeping patterns already exists but companies are also developing technology which can check blood pressure, monitor insulin levels and identifying neurological conditions.

It is expected that approximately three million people will have at least three long-term medical conditions by 2018 and some health experts are hoping that the development of advanced health monitoring devices would free up resources and allow people to monitor their own health rather than constantly relying on healthcare professionals. If this is successful, it is estimated that the NHS could save up to £5 billion over the next decade.

The obvious concern surrounding digital healthcare is the issue of ensuring patient data is kept private. A spokesperson from NHS England said “ensuring patient confidentiality is of upmost importance to everyone working in the NHS and the robust processes already in place to ensure that patient data is protected extends data held electronically”

AHPN supports these upcoming medical advances as this is one step closer to a complete individualised patient centred care system.What needs to be discussed however, is how we ensure that patients are being correctly monitored to avoid problems going undetected for an unnecessary period of time.