Guest blog from Dr Simon Abrams on cloud technology for integrated urgent care

I recently met with a number of senior NHS and business figures to discuss how cloud technology should be part of the solution to tackling NHS pressures, offering greater gains in communication between clinicians and the patients, and between clinicians and other health and social care professionals. Such technology is one of the essential pillars for the necessary and effective integration of health and social care services.

The reason for our discussion was the launch of a Special Report produced by Sesui cloud communications – ‘Flexible working for a 24/7 NHS’. Having read this report, I recommend colleagues across primary and urgent care spend some time exploring its findings. It resonated with my views on how technology can make a difference in the NHS, especially now when we need it most. The report goes into detail on how cloud technology contributes to how urgent care providers can meet the NHS Five Year View for integrated urgent care. I found its focus on home working and the governance of secure connections, access to records and voice recording admirable. And the thinking around designing systems that match the national and international changes to the way ordinary people connect with new technology is something we should all be considering.

It’s no longer possible to provide the full range of care services that the public needs on a purely GP-based model. We need integrated, multidisciplinary teams of GPs, paramedics, nurses and pharmacists working together. By using the cloud, we can push that model even further, honing into each of those clinicians’ specific skill sets. The current triage process gives us just three options. But by using cloud technology, we have much more choice. So if a patient with a mental health problem calls into 111, using cloud technology we can identify a mental health nurse on duty, in another part of the country, and bring the two together. At that point we’re providing a much more efficient and tailored service as we match clinical skills to our patient’s needs. The right people, the right technology – the right outcome.

I know a lot of clinicians are at a low ebb right now; the challenges are unprecedented. But amidst the noise in the media around the winter crisis, we mustn’t forget that crisis is the mother of invention. Sometimes it does take a perfect storm for people to take action so that it doesn’t happen again. I truly believe how we move forward developing technology in the NHS can make a difference now when we need it most.

Simon Abrams
Chair, UHUK

Call us: 03445 600 600