The recent cyber-attack on the NHS in May was an unqualified disaster which endangered lives and affected the ability of the staff at hospitals and surgeries across the UK to do their jobs. It also highlighted some of the failings in the technologies used, as a number of compromised computers were said to be using Windows XP.
This also unfortunately painted a negative picture of the NHS in relation to technology, but the reality is that there are many incredible and innovative technologies used by this service every day. To give you a clearer idea of this, here are a number of examples used by both the healthcare industry itself in the UK and by many NHS trusts.
Portable Diagnostic Tools
You might be under the impression that the equipment used to carry out tasks like x-rays and to analyse samples is quite large and bulky. While this might have been the case in the past, there are in fact small portable versions. These scaled down versions are small enough to be taken to people’s homes and relieve pressure on busy wards.
Another way the NHS has used tech to reduce hospital wait times and unnecessary appointments is by launching apps which can help people research and self-diagnose any problems. These can then help people to make more informed decisions about whether or not they need to go to the hospital.
On top of this, there are also other medical apps that can offer advice and guidance on everything from pregnancy to how to schedule and administer certain prescriptions and drugs.
To build on this previous point, there are even pills that patients can swallow which contain devices that report back on their internal stats. These are also used to feedback on whether or not patients are taking the right amount of their drugs.
In some UK hospitals, you may encounter robots being used to transport items from different areas. These aren’t ‘robots’ in an android sense, but more like small vehicles which can be loaded up in one area and then programmed to shift items along corridors to another destination. This helps to save time for staff who would otherwise have to do this themselves.
On a wider level, there has been investment by some trusts in newer, more efficient technologies to make their trusts more sustainable. These sustainability plans also tie-in to wider initiatives to help transform struggling trusts and support the local area around these – details of these for NHS England can be found here.
A Final Thought
Another thing to note is that the tech that is used to help save lives and cure illness and disease is constantly evolving and being developed in the healthcare industry. So, the next time you use such services, don’t be fooled into thinking it is purely being run on antiquated systems, remember some of the amazing inventions that are being used to keep the UK safe and healthy.