By Tony Backhouse, Head of Healthcare Practice, SynApps Solutions
As we all settle down to the next five years of our new government, now is the time to start a debate about the best way to help deliver the most effective public services.
Technology is often pushed to the top of the queue when it comes to transforming public services, as we all know. Critics tend to respond that technology is often used an alternative to increased investment.
They may well have a point, and after five years of austerity, many public sector leaders wonder if there’s any ‘fat’ left to cut before we get to real flesh and bone. But in the NHS, there is a clear response, in the form of the seminal ‘Five Year Forward View’, to this question: we need more money and we need creative, intelligent use of digital solutions, too.
Here at SynApps, we know from our work on Vendor Neutral Archiving and Open Source clinical content solutions that stakeholders are increasingly convinced that smart technology is an invaluable tool in their hands.
A new call we can all get behind
However, one big barrier remains. It’s not a functionality problem. We have great technology already.
What we are missing is a common, easy way for those technologies – at all levels, between all sorts of partner organisations and teams in health, social and community care – to work together.
What’s holding us back: silos. silos of information, the way we have sectioned up data and patient information resources in ways that make it impossible to connect up the way we want.
That’s why we are throwing our support behind the call by the new pressure group of vendors behind networking technologies in the public sector, Innopsis for more effective, safer information sharing across the public sector.
The body, which launched last week after a re-branding from its previous identity as PSNGB, says that what the heads of major Departments like Health and DWP should be doing is taking on board the potential to transform public services by better enabling organisations to safely share more information – something it sees as a “huge, largely untapped opportunity” for UK Plc.
The evidence is mounting up at the coalface
Who can disagree with its further point that if public sector organisations could safely share information, for example across multi-agency safeguarding hubs, which could form a single point of contact to report safeguarding concerns, we can make real progress here.
Progress and savings, too. This is not just Innopsis’ conviction but that of many experienced leaders in both the buyer and commercial community around the NHS. And it’s ours based on the real savings we can see our Trust customers achieving every day.
Let’s hope Whitehall listens to Innopsis, our customers and the larger community at this formative time – as the next five years could be a lot more successful and productive as a result.