Supporting the pandemic recovery through funding for digital pathway development

With the NHS focusing on the recovery of services following the pandemic, we’re supporting clinical teams through our digitising clinical pathways funding to provide exceptional care for patients and reduce waiting times for surgery.

Technology is helping the NHS to transform the way services are delivered to patients in so many ways. Thanks to the latest in digital technology, we are now able to successfully monitor patients at home through small devices, such as pulse oximeters, allowing patients to identify when they are deteriorating and seek help. For those patients most at risk, digital platforms can now support clinicians to review patients’ vital signs at home to escalate early when needed. Caring for patients in the comfort of their own homes is not only beneficial to them, but it also helps to relieve the pressure on acute beds.

There are so many more opportunities to embrace technology for the benefit of staff and their patients. As part of our work in deploying new digital pathways, we are working with our digital inequalities team to fund greater testing of new technologies, including devices, digital platforms and wider mobile technology at ICS (integrated care system) level. 

This funding we’ve put in place will support teams to evaluate how new digital pathways can work in partnership, with an expert evaluation team focusing on digital inequality. Testing how technology benefits different groups is important in enabling us to understand how we can adapt and service all the needs of our population.

As I’ve outlined above, new technologies have enabled patients to be safely monitored at home and with rapid communication with clinical teams. Our digital playbooks, which now span eight specialties, have outlined the breadth of new technologies being adopted by trusts and services across the NHS. We have now secured the first wave of funding to help clinical teams transform patient care through this type of technology at a ICS-level and I am delighted to announce monies for musculoskeletal services, gastroenterology and perioperative care. 

We have worked closely with national clinical directors and the Get it Right First Time team (GIRFT) to identify specialties where patients can benefit from new technologies; these include:

  • Digital perioperative care that supports enhanced recovery
  • Musculoskeletal self care tools
  • Using faecal calprotectin tests as part of IBD pathways 
  • Enhanced education for endoscopy patients

Each ICS can also bid to test out how new models impact on the diversity of patients cared for across the country. This will provide vital evidence to improve digital pathways for the future.

I look forward to seeing applications from teams across the country who will be able to use this opportunity to test out sustainable new ways of delivering health care.