industry news Monday 12 Jun 2017 @ 12:15 ​​Future Technology To Drive NHS Business Efficiencies

With London Tech Week 2017 underway to celebrate examples of cutting-edge innovation across different sectors, David Morris, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) Managing Director, looks at the new back office technology that is helping to deliver a fit-for-future health service. 

David MorrisHere at NHS SBS we are on a mission. Our aim is to revolutionise the way the NHS manages its core business functions. We want to facilitate better patient outcomes by unlocking hundreds of millions of pounds savings and efficiencies in the coming years - back office savings that can be better spent on frontline care. And, as far as we're concerned, investing now in the very latest technology and modern innovations is key.

It is well reported and widely accepted that waste and price variation are expensive issues when it comes to the goods and services purchased by different parts of the same NHS. In his review of operational productivity in hospitals, for instance, Lord Carter delivered a fairly damning assessment: "...most (NHS trusts) still don't know what they buy, how much they buy, and what they pay for goods and services."

So how can modern technology solve what - on the face of it - seems an almost insurmountable problem? The answer; by looking at (and learning from) innovations in other industries - in this case retail. Many of us as consumers are already very used to buying online in our everyday lives. By taking this best of breed e-commerce technology, and providing a user-friendly purchasing platform for all NHS hospitals, NHS SBS and technology experts, Virtualstock, are working together to deliver an 'Amazon-style' online marketplace, which will realise millions of pounds worth of savings and efficiencies for the NHS.

And the launch of The Edge for Health later this year is not the only investment we are making in e-commerce technology. Our partnership with another leading technology company, cloudBuy, has led to an innovative care marketplace for Personal Health Budget (PHB) holders. Known as PHBChoices, it provides the PHB holder with a virtual budget through an online account created by their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Here, they (or their carers) can buy products and services in line with a support plan that has been agreed with their CCG - a seamless end-to-end process for the management of a very modern day care package.

With these online platforms promising to completely transform how goods and services are bought and paid for by the NHS, another exciting area - where modern technology has a big part to play in future-proofing the NHS back office - is the leaps we are making in the use of robotics and automation.

By further investing in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the quality of various processing systems, we are able to provide the NHS with the reassurance that, when it comes to their business transactions, things can be done more quickly and with greater accuracy than ever before.

As NHS organisations all around the country face increasing pressure to, in many cases, deliver more for less, the need for continuous innovation couldn't be clearer. By embracing these new and emerging technologies, an opportunity exists for the NHS to make the significant cost and efficiency savings - whilst improving quality and facilitating better decision-making - that are needed to help support improvements in frontline patient care.

About NHS SBS: We're the market leader in business support services for the NHS, providing innovative finance and accounting, employment and procurement solutions which deliver operational efficiencies, improved service quality and real cost savings for our clients.

Click here to visit the NHS SBS website and find out more.


Giving the elderly a voice in Parliament: An interview with Rachael Maskell MP