Health Tech Trends

Health Tech Trends Series 2021: the most successful technologies adopted

Our Health Tech Trends Series 2021, which is supported by InterSystems, continues with a reflection on some of the technologies our readers think have been successful in their organisation.

In April, we sent out a survey to you – our audience – asking readers to respond to a series of questions around digital maturity satisfaction levels, the most successful technologies your organisations have adopted and how close you are to working in a paper-free environment.

Around 250 health tech professionals took part, each response supporting NHS Charities Together. The survey was open for two weeks, allowing us time to analyse your insights.

In part one of the series, we looked at digital maturity satisfaction trends and responses around paper-free working. Now, in part two of the series, we’ve moved onto specific technologies that resonated with our readers, based on replies from NHS professionals who completed the survey.

Here’s what we discovered…

In this section of the survey we received 176 individual responses and, unsurprisingly, they reflected the huge variety of ideas and innovations out there – as well as the distinct and unique needs of health tech professionals and suppliers.

Some of the responses varied, as one commented: “Sorry to say the best tech is probably the telephone.”

Other answers gave us pause for thought, highlighting wider issues with their responses, such as “I do not have access to all systems so cannot judge” and “hindered by lack of pace from NHSE”.

“Something as simple as being able to view images (X-rays, CT, MRI) on line [sic],” said one, while highlighting that for them the “biggest problem is repeated multiple log-ins.”

“Our patient entertainment system tablets are very well received widely and do make a huge difference to patient experience,” said one response that centred more on patient wellbeing.

Understandably, a number of comments were based on a COVID-19 lens, as one said: “Thinking more COVID period, it would be the virtual consultation which has transformed outpatient services.”

Two answers also focused on the issues surrounding adoption and training. One person surveyed explained: “A large proportion of staff are computer phobic so do not engage.”

However, a second person highlighted that there can be two sides to the engagement and buy-in coin: “There have been a lot of changes…learning what to do with no training is difficult and I am aware that we could do a lot better if we knew how and had the time to be shown what to do.”

But what about the stats?

  • The next most-mentioned technology of choice was…electronic patient records (EPRs). In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of movement and development in this area, as the need for clinicians to be able to access patient information remotely and all in one place became paramount. Around 22 of those surveyed mentioned EPRs, with some respondents opting for this even though their EPR journeys were not yet complete.
  • One of the other solutions that figured most highly for successful adoption among NHS organisations and staff was either Microsoft Teams alone or in combination with another technology, such as Office 365. Overall, 16 respondents ‘championed’ Teams as top. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that many trusts used this to enable remote working, communication and meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Third most ‘popular’ was the AccuRx SMS tools, which received 14 ‘votes’. Respondents said the software “revolutionised communication” and has “been invaluable”.
  • A number of comments also focused on the availability of hardware, such as laptops and iPads, and the overall “refinement of the remote/home working systems.”
  • Other answers included a real range of solutions – with nods given to everything from electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA), single sign-on, specimen tracking systems, electronic observations, and electronic dashboards, through to library and population health management systems, digital dictation, the cloud, e-white boards, Attend Anywhere, SystmOne and specific company solutions from the likes of Cerner and Nervecentre.

Stay tuned for more trends pieces, as we continue to examine the views of health tech professionals across the UK.