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News   >   Our 2023 BT Health Report – ‘Mind the gap!
Our 2023 BT Health Report – ‘Mind the gap!
Published: 21 March 2023
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Delivering digitally enabled change to the NHS’ - check it out!

We first surveyed UK healthcare providers in 2021 to understand how they’re transforming the delivery of patient care – especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have now repeated that survey, reaching even more NHS professionals to understand what has changed, where innovation is delivering results and where it needs a boost.

High level findings include:

• 83% believe greater technology investment can help to attract a younger workforce
• 74% agree that technology helps to deliver better quality care
• 58% suffer from building connectivity not-spots forcing some (24%) to revert back to older ways of working
• 24% have difficulty sharing patient data securely
• The standard of technology at work is a source of stress for 49%
• Challenges to adoption include staff burnout, lack of skills, funding and a resistance to change

Staff are the enablers, and tech can help boost recruitment

The study shows that healthcare professionals view technology as having an important role to play in addressing one of the biggest issues facing the NHS today: staff shortages. 74% want their organisation to invest more in new technological solutions and software to help attract new staff, and 83% think it can help to attract a younger workforce from digitally native generations.

Despite recognising the benefits digital technology can bring for healthcare services, the study also shines a light on some of the challenges to progress. The current standard of technology remains a source of stress for nearly half (49%) of NHS staff. They are under considerable pressure, and staffing levels and burnout (42%) are seen as the biggest barriers (outside of funding) to digital transformation. This is followed by cultural resistance to change (37%) and workforce availability and capability (37%). 75% feel that team capacity (e.g. lack of relevant skills and / or resources) is slowing innovation.

Evolving infrastructure through collaboration

While healthcare professionals say the approach to technology adoption needs to evolve, so too does the infrastructure required to support the latest innovation. However, fully connected, interoperable systems, which enable staff to seamlessly connect to apps and solutions are seemingly a little way off.

Nearly all respondents (98%) agree that network, Wi-Fi infrastructure and mobile technology are critical to future innovations in the delivery of healthcare, but 58% suffer from building not-spots (areas that receive little or no connectivity) and 51% have to switch between devices to carry out tasks. Consequently, 59% cite difficulties implementing new technology with existing systems and almost one in four (24%) have reverted to older processes due to connectivity issues.

Professor Sultan Mahmud, BT’s Director of Healthcare, said: “It’s clear from this research that NHS staff have a real belief in technology and its potential for delivering greater healthcare for everyone. However, it’s also clear that we need to work together to evolve the approach to adoption and infrastructure. This is about making sure technology is a driver: easing staff stresses, supporting recruitment, unlocking digital transformation, and delivering better patient outcomes. The NHS needs partners that will stand alongside it shoulder-to-shoulder, and BT is proud to be on that journey.”

To support NHS Trusts with this ongoing challenge, BT has launched its Vanguard Programme. The ‘clinically led, digitally enabled’ programme sees BT partner with NHS Trusts to co-create technology that is specifically developed for the challenges healthcare providers face. The programme focuses on the needs of patients, clinical staff, administrators, or the many others who are critical to delivering care.

Dr Tim Ringrose, President, Digital Health, Royal Society of Medicine, added: “The NHS finds itself under immense pressure and it needs partners that are able to really listen and co-create solutions that have a positive impact on workloads and patient experience. We can all see the potential technology can have, but right now it’s not always deployed in the right ways. Our mission is to share healthcare learning and support innovation, and the future of our healthcare system is dependent on working with partners that have similar commitments.”.

Download and read the full report here
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