2020 saw many changes for the NHS, most notably its acceleration in embracing digital technologies and the use of data to assist in its response to the pandemic and remote care. Noticing this shift, NetApp commissioned a report by Health Tech Partners, a leading integrated communications and market access consultancy, on what 2021 holds for data and its use in the UK healthcare system. The report examines the current state of play and policy framework as well as the untapped potential of data for the NHS and the expected trends for 2021.
With some of the initiatives referenced in the report already underway, it provides essential information that organisations need to know and trends to be aware of throughout 2021.
The state of play
It’s no secret that this year was going to be pivotal for the NHS, with a clear desire from the government to begin returning to ‘normality’ after the pandemic whilst managing the vaccine rollout and patient backlog. Several initiatives are under way that can either help or hinder the NHS as it strives to return to normality. The report examines the following initiatives in detail:
The development of integrated care systems (ICSs)
The possible reorganisation of health innovation bodies
Increased pressure on the NHS to up its game on digitisation
Legacy systems are currently holding NHS organisations back, causing them to miss out on the wide-ranging benefits that data usage through cloud-based technologies offers for patients and clinicians. There is an incredibly strong case for the data solutions within the NHS, particularly because patient care is increasingly being coordinated by ICSs andSustainability and Transformation Partnerships. The report includes a case study to demonstrate how data-driven change can transform the healthcare system and the need to unlock this potential throughout 2021 and beyond.
Health Tech Partners also examined the broader key challenges and opportunities the healthcare system faces over the coming year. Notable challenges include recovery from the pandemic and financial pressures following the 2020 Spending Review, and what this could mean for efforts to use data to improve the way that healthcare is delivered. Finally, the report looked into key themes to be aware of this year that can impact the healthcare system, either positively or negatively.
It remains to be seen whether 2021 will be the year in which the NHS makes a great leap toward the use of data. However, it’s clear that the time has never been better for the NHS to explore innovation solutions and new ways of working. This report, and the questions it poses for organisations, clinicians, and the healthcare industry, will be useful in navigating the upcoming changes in the healthcare system and in understanding the challenges it faces in returning to ‘normality’.