With the NHS’ long term plan focusing on the prevention of avoidable illness and upgrading the delivery of care to become digitally-enabled, it’s never been so important to inform and educate the public.

Health Information Week, an initiative coordinated by Health Education England and running from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 July, is aiming to do just that. With different topics running throughout the week including innovations for preventing illness and health and digital literacy, it’s hoped that an improvement in health information will have a huge impact on people’s ability to stay healthy and manage illnesses effectively.

Prevention and technology in particular are fundamental in developing healthcare to improve people’s understanding and their quality of life.

Integration is key

Although prevention is a key focus for reducing the strain on healthcare systems and technology is a fantastic resource, using them individually won’t be as successful as taking an integrated approach. Technological solutions and preventative measures should be connected to wider cycles of healthcare to reap as many benefits as possible. Improved integration enhances user experiences and reduces costs, while also expanding services and reducing avoidable illness, all which are all fundamental in refining healthcare performance.

Progress with the times

As the world moves towards an increasingly digital future, the healthcare industry needs to progress and become digitally enabled. The latest connected care and health technology is not just reactive, but enables care to be more person-centred by being proactive and even predictive. Technology allows organisations to deliver efficient care to the community while also enhancing the cost-effectiveness and quality of care in a number of ways, for example significantly increasing the range of choices available to people to self-manage and remain independent at home for longer.

Early detection is crucial

When it comes to the treatment and prevention of avoidable illness, early detection is often crucial. If used correctly, technology can play a vital role in preventing the deterioration of health and reducing symptoms which will improve quality of life. Technology allows for information sharing and is ‘always on’, meaning it can contribute to a wide range of preventative measures, from detecting deterioration of a long-term condition at an early stage and ensuring people take their medication correctly, to connecting individuals with key stakeholders to ensure they are safe and well. This allows a greater number of people to live healthier and independent lives who may otherwise have been unable to do so.

Reduction of health inequality

With premature mortality in the most deprived parts of the UK being twice as high as in the most affluent areas, health inequality has become a serious issue. Education is vital to improving understanding of healthcare and what people can do to improve their own health and that of others. Introducing ideas around prevention and technology will give people more choice when it comes to tackling health concerns they may have. Even the simplest technology can make community care delivery more cost effective and efficient, therefore giving every community the opportunity to enjoy the healthcare and wellbeing benefits that technology can bring.

Gavin Bashar
UK & Ireland Managing Director of Tunstall Healthcare