One of the ways for the NHS to save money and make efficiencies – something they are always looking for – is to empower people to self-manage aspects of their own health through the utilisation of technology and ubiquitous web access.
Cambridge Healthcare, a UK-based start-up working in partnership with the NHS and the NHS IT body Connecting for Health, have developed NHS.info to provide a platform for patients, healthcare professionals and providers to exchange and utilize health information and encourage patient self-management. NHS-Direct already offers a very useful resource for patients to self-diagnose their ailments, but NHS.info will provide a way for two-way communication between patients and those holding the knowledge, and let patients develop their own personal healthcare plans with less of a need to visit a doctor’s surgery. A remote health-service.
As patients take greater control of their own health, the theory is that people will follow healthier lifestyles reducing the burden on expensive treatments. Long-term health management is one of the major factors that makes large socialised medicine like the NHS much more cost effective per capita than private health insurance schemes such as those in the US. With both general web access and future apps for mobile devices and a strictly limited API for further innovation from outside the NHS – this could create a whole health ecosystem.
As with any digital health service with the very personal nature of information shared on the site privacy and security are major concerns, especially with regard to the current wave of high profile hacks. Nonetheless, if managed successfully such a project could be a major money saving and health-improving tool with other countries such as Canada and China already in discussions about rolling out the concept to partners.
Here’s a short video explaining exactly what NHS.info will be offering:
[via TechCrunch Europe]