The government should develop a new code of practice giving patients the right to receive healthcare services online or offline and guarantee minimum service standards for digital and face-to-face provision.
That’s according to a new report from the House of Lords. The latest report from the Covid-19 Committee looks at the impact of digital acceleration on physical and mental health, social connection, education and quality of work.
Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, chair of the committee, said: “The future was always going to be hybrid – an increasingly blurred mix of online and offline aspects of life. Due to the pandemic, that future is here now and as a result the need for government action is greater than ever to ensure a hybrid future fit for and beneficial to all.”
The report recommends the government carry out a review of patients’ rights in “hybrid” healthcare provision, including its impact on accessibility, privacy and the triage between face-to-face and digital services.
At Inhealthcare, we would welcome a code of practice giving patients the right to receive services online or offline and guaranteeing minimum standards for digital and face-to-face provision.
We believe the code should incorporate the following:
- Digital health services should be fully inclusive and available to all patients via a choice of communication channels, including face-to-face contact
- Digital health services should be fully interoperable and capable of integrating with all major GP and hospital systems to avoid adding to staff workloads
- Digital health services should be capable of generating data and insights to help NHS organisations make operational and clinical improvements for patients
- Digital health services should be scalable and capable of safely and securely rolling out region-wide services across large population areas at speed.
The report makes a number of other recommendations including making sure there is a robust process for developing, testing and evaluating digital health interventions.
The report also warns that increasing reliance on digital technology will “exacerbate existing inequalities”. However this does not have to be the case. Inhealthcare has championed digital inclusion and offers NHS organisations a choice of communication channels – from the latest voice assistant technology to the basic telephone landline – to make sure no patients are left behind and everyone can access the services they need to enjoy healthy and independent lives, whatever their age, ability or individual circumstances.
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