NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG

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Digital Revolution in Health and Care

Digital Revolution in Health and Care

I went to an event organised by Third sector Lancashire which was about the digital revolution in Health and Care. This is something I covered in blog last year but as you know in the field of technology a year is a long time. One of the speakers Declan Hadley the Digital health lead in Lancashire outlined the current state of play in the county and showed how the programme he is associated with aims to empower the public by giving access to our health record on line allowing us to make appointments and order prescriptions on line and also how using apps to monitor certain aspects of our physical health could make it easier for people to get the right help at the right time. One person asked how this empowered people who did not have a smart phone tablet or access to a computer. This is not immediately obvious other than if people were using digital channels to get the help they wanted there would be fewer people queuing outside the GP surgery, the phone lines would be less busy and clinics should operate more efficiently.

But if the NHS was to link up with the council, schools, and voluntary community and faith sector organisations it should be possible to have access to computers and other devices at a range of locations. The conference also heard that Wi-Fi could be made available in the surgery or health centre and indeed other locations as has been done in Blackpool.

For people with long term conditions the developments of smart houses with the technology controlled by systems which recognise speech increase the chances of people being able to remain in their own home for longer.

This brings me on to Care.data. the CCG is a pathfinder for this programme which is a national initiative which involves extracting data about patients from GP practices and linking it with information gathered from hospitals. The expectation is that this will allow the NHS in England to collect more information about patients as this will help improve the care that can be offered. The areas it is intended to help with are;

  • Diagnosing illness sooner;
  • Making the best treatment available to everyone;
  • Using my information to help future generations;
  • Getting the support and information you need after diagnosis;
  • Putting safety first with medicines;
  • Improving planning of NHS services;
  • Supporting improvements to treatments and outcomes;
  • Giving all patients the best possible care.
  • 24 of our practices have agreed to be part of the pathfinder scheme.

The Health and Well Being board have issued a Mental Health and Well Being action plan and this was discussed with a wider group of local Councillors, service providers and community and voluntary organisations at a meeting in the Museum and Art Gallery. There was a very informative presentation by the Chief Executive of Lancashire Mind who talked about their strategy for Lancashire which aims to make the county a beacon for mental well-being. We also heard from public health England about the factors that influence our state of mind . One theme was the need to help people increase their personal resilience so that when something happens which throws us off balance we have some reserves to call on a type of immune system which helps us fight the destabilising event and recover our usual level of self-esteem and contentment. We had small group discussions about the four themes within the plan and will be considering the information gathered as we develop and implement the action plan.

One of the actions suggested is that we seek to increase GP awareness of and access to community and non-medical support for those with mental/emotional wellbeing issues. We are doing this by creating a directory of services but if there is a service you know of that you think might not have been included in this please let us know.

Talking about GPs we have applied to co commission primary care GP services with NHS England from 1st April and have been told that our application to take on full delegation has been approved. The same applies to other CCG’s in Lancashire. The Governing Body will be asked to give agreement to this development which would give us more opportunities to influence the quality of Primary care and make sure that practices are fully involved in the work to make integrated in teams in our localities a reality and able to provide better care for their patients. Included in the plans will be more use of technology both to allow quicker communication between patients and their GP but also in inform patients more about their condition and give advice about how they can more effectively care for themselves.