NHS England looks to the future

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This year the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) turned 70, making it the ideal time to reflect on its many achievements, and also to look ahead, and consider how the NHS can continue to deliver quality care for all in the face of modern challenges such as an ageing population and a rise in lifestyle-related health issues, and all the demands they place on the system.

The NHS in England treats more than 1.4 million patients every 24 hours and is one of the nation’s most loved institutions. The Five Year Forward View, and Simon Stevens’ Ten Year Plan have identified opportunities to drive the closer integration of health and social care, based upon the principles of population health management, and using strategic advisory and technology solutions. This means a clearer focus on the person receiving care, rather than the organisations delivering that care, resulting in a shift from hospitals to primary and community services. The aim is to achieve better outcomes, better use of resources, and better experiences for patients and those involved in their care.

NHS England’s Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF) was created to enable this shift, by giving licence to contract more freely across the NHS and local government sector bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The framework provides simpler and faster – typically six months quicker than the traditional procurement process – access to a range services including infrastructure, insights, impact and intervention, and system optimisation support.

Suppliers have now been appointed to the Framework. IBM – led by Watson Health and backed by IBM Services – is the only non-NHS entity selected to support all 10 areas across the Framework. This places the company and its ecosystem of UK partners in a unique position to support STPs and the new integrated care systems across the UK with strategic advisory, change management, digital transformation services, data analytics and insights.

This is a significant change to how the country delivers health care but one that is essential if we are going to create sustainable solutions that meet today’s challenges. This heralds a world where the public are better able to look after themselves and are more equal partners in planning their own care. Where services are being coordinated around individual patient journeys and, at the point of care, healthcare professionals are given the tools that ensure that the right care is delivered to the patient at the right time, every time.

IBM has an opportunity to be an essential part of this story by providing platforms for patients to self-care, supporting people to stay well and providing support for professionals who will gain from the AI capability of Watson to help them make decisions. It is an exciting time for IBM to be a key part of this healthcare story.

Chief Medical Officer (Europe), IBM Watson Health

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