Link up consumer electronic products with NHS and social care systems, says Edinburgh Medical School

In evidence submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport committee, the Edinburgh Medical School says there is a ‘pressing need’ to link up consumer electronic products with health and care.

[Edinburgh, Scotland] Scotland should look to expand use of mainstream technology such as Fitbits and Amazon Echo and link up these products with NHS and social care systems, evidence submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport committee indicates.

Recent papers made public set out key findings from responses of a variety of interested parties regarding the use of technology and innovation across the NHS in Scotland, based on significant achievements in the Scottish digital health agenda, main challenges, failures and opportunities to improve. 

Among others, the Edinburgh Medical School said there is a ‘pressing need to simplify’ the process of linking up consumer electronic products and the NHS and social care systems, although it is acknowledged that in order to prevent clinicians becoming ‘overwhelmed by data’, meaningful insights have to be extracted.

In the UK, Hampshire County Council is currently trialling Amazon Echo devices for social care patients in a new scheme that will see 16 councils receive £50,000 to improve use of digital technology.

In addition, Smart Energy UK said these devices can spot patterns of behaviour and predict when an individual might need assistance, while Perth and Kinross HSCP suggested that, by improving the flow of information, this technology could ‘shift the emphasis to prevention’ and reduce pressures on the system.

Meanwhile, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society indicated patients in Scotland want more access to their health records, while Macmillan Cancer Support said ‘ongoing conversations’ were taking place to see if cancer could be used as the long-term condition to pilot a model looking at ‘citizen owned data’ across the country.

However, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine noted there is a ‘huge variation’ in recording of data across the NHS in Scotland, with mental health, primary care and maternity all using different systems to store and access information.

The Health and Sport committee received more than 70 responses following the call for evidence on technology and innovation in NHS Scotland.

A new strategy published earlier this year set out nine commitments to improve pharmaceutical care services across the country, with digital technology and data identified as a key area for development.

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Scotland reinforces commitment to digital in new pharma strategy

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