The Nuffield Trust has published The impact of Covid-19 on the use of digital technology in the NHS. The report examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the use of technology in the NHS, possible risks and downsides associated with the changes, and how to embed positive changes.
Prior to the pandemic, the drive to integrate digital tools into the delivery of care by the NHS was a strategic focus of the Government. The arrival of COVID-19 accelerated the uptake of digital technologies to free up space and capacity in hospitals, reduce the risk of viral transmission, and facilitate remote working. Patients also benefited from digital technologies such as e-prescription services and the NHS app.
The pace at which these changes occurred meant that procedures to enable the changes to occur, guidance on information governance, and fast-track procurement frameworks also had to be put in place extremely quickly. The report states that the effects of the rapid adoption of digital technologies by the NHS must now be evaluated to assess their impact and ensure that any positive changes are embedded for the future—necessitating adequate funding, infrastructure and the necessary workforce.