Emergency in A&E: Increasing demand for services, stretched staffing, budgets at the limit… time for healthcare technology to take the strain
As the electioneering commences, politicians of every hue are beginning their customary NHS blame-fest. Regardless of the accuracy of the figures and finger-pointing, one thing that cannot be denied is that the NHS is being strained to snapping point and a quick fix does not exist.
The more astute commentators, managers and politicians are looking at the broader picture a care system that envelops everything from social issues, health education, early diagnosis, treatment at home, and many more innovative methods that promote a more beneficial, and better value system of prevent, treat, manage, and cure.
However, as this week's reports of soaring numbers of hospitals declaring major incidents and of a complete A&E system in crisis, there are some areas where technology should begin to help give the departments some slack. Although not an immediate answer, it should be considered as part of the long-term repair of our cherished health service.
One of the primary concerns is the over-use and misuse of the A&E services. New technologies are being developed that would allow patients' vital signs to be monitored remotely from home using simple camera technology. This would help keep the well at home and get the sick to hospital.
We believe technology has the potential to play a vital role as part of a package of reforms and improvements, and predict some key developments in this area in 2015.