Healthy Liverpool gives us an opportunity to realise the enormous potential that technology can bring to local health services and the people who depend on them.
Our aim is for Liverpool to have one of the most digitally advanced health and social care services in Europe by 2020.
The city has been leading the way for a number of years now and we have already made great progress in using technology to support our patients to live more independently, and also to improve communication between different health and social care services.
By using digital technology, we can provide services more quickly and efficiently, and also get better results for our patients. In some cases it is also helping people avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.
One of the priorities for us is to integrate health and social care records. This means that no matter which service you use – whether it’s the GP, a hospital, community nurse or the ambulance service - the people providing your care will have immediate access to the most up to date information about your health, such as any allergies or medication you take. This means they can quickly make the best decisions for you and make sure your treatment is as safe and effective as possible. In an emergency, this can mean the difference between life and death. You can learn more about this by watching this short film:
We are also working on a system that will allow you to build a personal “profile” of your health. Many people already do this to an extent, whether it’s using an app on their mobile phone or tablet device to monitor how many steps they take, how far they’ve run, or what food and drink they’ve consumed.
We want to create something that can bring all of this together but that is also linked to your health conditions. For example, if you have a long term condition like diabetes, asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD), you can record your test results on your app to keep an eye on how you’re doing. If you choose to, this information can be shared with the health service, which can respond accordingly, whether it’s offering advice on how to manage your condition or booking an appointment if they notice something in your results that is worth exploring further.
Using technology to support people to live more independently is another area we will increasingly be focusing on. At the moment, for example, we have patients with arthritis who are concerned about what will happen if they fall. We are able to provide an intercom system which is accessed by a wristband, so the patient can connect with a friendly voice who is ready to help in the event of a fall. This simple piece of technology provides peace of mind and confidence to patients, their families and their carers.
We want you to tell us how you think technology could be used to support your health and independence. But we also know that technology can be scary if you’ve not used it before, so also get in touch if you think you would need some help with this.
We’ve created a discussion forum here where you can share your thoughts and comments, so we can use technology to help create a Healthy Liverpool for everyone.
By Dr Simon Bowers, GP, Clinical Director of Digital Innovation and Vice Chair at NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group.