Promoting innovation in primary care

Written by Professor Gary Shuckford, Director of Edenbridge Healthcare Limited

Prof. Gary Shuckford has been announced as the Digital Leaders Yorkshire local champion 2018. Gary is passionate about supporting business’s to grow and especially those that focus on improving healthcare outcomes. He is an active angel investor, visiting Professor at Leeds Beckett University, a director of Edenbridge Healthcare with over 25 years experience of the healthcare IT market,, analytics and IoT.

This year is the 70th Birthday of the NHS. It receives an annual budget of over £125bn in England alone and yet it’s still not enough as the NHS continues to be overwhelmed by rising demand as the cost of treatment continues to increase and we’re all living longer.

Buy why look at primary care?

Primary care is where are patient journey’s start, the myriad of GPs, nurses, GP surgeries, walk in centres and out of hours hubs (to name but a few) are key to ensuring that our need is met quickly and effectively to allow us to look after ourselves, be treated very early on, or be referred to the most effective treatment possible to ensure the best health outcome.

The NHS has a history of investing in IT to help deliver innovation. This has seen a mixed bag of success, from the National Programme for IT in 2002 (which was scrapped after 10 years and £10bn after being called the biggest IT failure ever seen) through to some of the national programmes and the quality of primary care clinical management systems – most of which are based in Yorkshire with the headquarters of NHS England.

As well as providing the tools for our GPs and practices to treat us effectively, they have started to embrace IT innovation for patients with the ability to book an appointment to see our GP online, or electronically request repeat medication. But there’s still a long way to go and there are some really strong roots to success including; investment in EPRs (electronic patient records) providing clinicians with comprehensive clinical notes at the point of care, investment into patient aps and technology, development of AI to deliver key clinical insight and IoT technology to support agile and remote monitoring and asset management and performance across both all sectors of healthcare.

It’s all about the workforce?

While much of the innovation and investment has been around improving clinical treatment, we are at times frustrated with delays in getting to see a GP and GPs are hectic just trying to keep up with demand. So what’s the answer? Until recently few tools looked at the effectiveness of the business of delivering healthcare. By that we mean how effective the activity, workload and workforce is in delivering clinical outcomes and to ensure that clinical services are fully aligned to patient demand.

This is where another Yorkshire company comes into it’s own, Edenbridge Healthcare aims to solve this problem by providing clinicians and providers with up to date information on their activity, workload, capacity and demand. This innovation means that we should be able to see a clinician more quickly and primary care providers have the bandwidth to plan, recruit and allocate resources more effectively. This is good old fashioned innovative IT at it’s best, using the latest technology to provide useful information when it’s needed. It’s good to see another SME deliver innovation to the NHS, bring it on!

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