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September 13, 2017

Health Secretary wants NHS to go digital by 2018

The health secretary also announced a further wave of global digital exemplars called ‘the fast followers’, which will receive £160m of funding to drive digital innovation.

By CBR Staff Writer

UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told trusts across the country that he expects various services to be available online to patients in app form by the end of 2018.

By 2018, the year the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, Hunt expects services including NHS 111, healthcare records and GP appointment booking to be available to all patients online via an app.

Other services the health secretary wants to see online include repeat prescriptions orders, organ donation preferences, data sharing preferences and support for managing a long term condition.

Pilot schemes are currently underway, with ongoing evaluation prior to a potential national roll-out.

Speaking to delegates at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, Hunt referred to the next 10 years as the decade of patient power.

Read more: NHS hacked? UK government should pay ransom, says almost half of Brits

Hunt said: “If the NHS is going to be the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world we need to do technology better.

“People should be able to access their own medical records 24/7, show their full medical history to anyone they choose and book basic services like GP appointments or repeat prescriptions online.

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“I do not underestimate the challenge of getting there – but if we do it will be the best possible 70th birthday present from the NHS to its patients.”

NHSPilots for services such as online trials of support for long-term conditions have already yielded successful results, with apps like MyCOPD being used to help patients manage their conditions with less dependence on GP and hospital appointments.

In his address to delegates, Hunt also announced the launch of MyNHS open data challenge, a £100,000 fund to reward most creative apps and digital tools for enhancing services.

The health secretary also announced a further wave of global digital exemplars called ‘the fast followers’, which will receive £160m of funding to drive digital innovation.

Around £21m of new matched funding for up to seven mental health ‘Fast Followers’ will also be made available, creating fresh investment of about £42m.

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