In January of this year Digital Jersey and the Health and Social Services Department published its first ever Digital Health Strategy, the culmination of a project involving government, digital industry and health practitioners from all areas, in order to set out the Island’s ambitions and approach to digitising the Island’s health and care system by 2025. Essentially, the aim is for Jersey to have a digitally world class health and care system that uses technology everywhere to improve every aspect of care, and be an Island where innovation in integrated health care flourishes.
On the 28th September Digital Jersey hosted Jersey’s Future Health Technology Summit, with some of the world’s leading pioneers in integrated health technology speaking and providing insights into how they have encouraged digital transformation in their own work. So we thought it was timely for us to check in on our own progress in the area of digital health and also consider what comes next. We asked a GP, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Health and Social Services Department and a local health technology expert for their views…
Nigel Minihane – GP and Chair of Jersey’s Primary Care Body
“In 2007 I was part of the team that came up with the idea for all of the Island’s GPs to work from the same system, to provide more accurate information and more efficient patient care and diagnosis. This in turn led to the development of the Health Intelligence Unit, which enables us to begin to see anonymous patterns about Islander’s health more easily. For example, how many people had diabetes, were we gaining weight as a community, or suffering from certain diseases more or less than other places? These were relatively simple changes in how we used technology, but they are beginning to make a huge difference to the day to day work of a GP. Now, with a joined up Digital Health Strategy we have a fantastic opportunity to make technology work even better for us. While nothing can replace fully the benefit of human contact and diagnosis, the better and more accurate the information we, as health practitioners have, the more effective care we can provide.”
Using existing information to provide better care – from the care homes, to hospice, to the hospital to the GP surgeries to the prison, all of this information needs to be integrated so that for every citizen there is a complete, comprehensive online care record in Jersey and they can receive better quality care.
Gaining new information and insights – tools like smartphones and smart watches can give us extra data about patient behavioural patterns and preferences, which can enable us to tailor care to their needs and more importantly, potentially anticipate or prevent illness and save lives.
Jason Turner – Deputy Chief Executive of the Health and Social Services Department
“Since the publication of the Digital Health Strategy at the beginning of the year we have made excellent progress. The technical architecture for the Jersey Care Record has been agreed, so we now have a blue print for how we will begin to link the existing systems across the different areas of our health and social care services. As an initial project, we are working on connecting hospital and GP systems to enable requesting and delivering diagnostic test results. Simply having an electronic system to replace the current paper one will improve the experience for patients, be more reliable, safer, faster and more cost effective. Next, we will begin to make connections between other systems and technology that are used to support and provide health and social care in the Island. By doing this, those providing care will still be able to use the systems and equipment that they are used to, but over time those various systems will communicate so that we have a Jersey Care Record for everyone. This is something that many areas in the UK have also attempted to do and continue to work on. Jersey is in a unique position, having the advantage of being smaller and more co-ordinated across our services. We actually have an opportunity to be one of the leading, and most joined up, digital health and social care systems anywhere, putting us in a really exciting position to provide the range of services that Islanders have said they need and want.”
Creating safer services – by doing things digitally, and more efficiently we are able to get people the care they need more quickly. We are also able to begin to build intelligence into the systems we use so that we can see patterns and help prevent illness, rather than just treat it. Providing the safest health service possible also means providing the most ‘digital’ health service possible.
Planning for the future – with the ageing demographic of Jersey’s population, and work on the new hospital project continuing, we know we need to be able to change and adapt the way we provide care. Caring for people in their own homes will be an important part of this change and is something Islanders told us they wanted during the consultation for the 2012 White Paper – technology and innovation will help make this possible and affordable.
Danny Bannister – CEO of Total Solutions Group International
“As a business owner in the technology space, my ambition has been to support healthcare through technologies, sector expertise and, where possible, introduce overseas leaders to support the Island. Jersey has the opportunity to be an exemplar jurisdiction, taking advantage of the ability to gather relatively easily, key people together to make decisions and the ability to set out and plan our future. We are an ideal and unique place to make things happen, measure success and introduce new technologies. Having developed our own healthcare product in Jersey, which is used across the Channel Islands, and is now also being distributed across the UK, we know how attractive doing business in Jersey can be and how fantastic Jersey is to launch and showcase healthcare technologies from.”
Developing Jersey’s reputation as a digital health jurisdiction – by becoming excellent in the area of digital health we will create prospects that will enhance our economic opportunities in this space and improve our own use of technology for better health. It is this sort of innovation that attracts the most talented people and helps keep essential suppliers engaged. Jersey should be a place where health technology experts and healthcare professionals aspire to work, to benefit the whole community.
Educating people about the importance of health technology – it is essential that every citizen experiences technology deployed everywhere, from the hospital to the GP surgery, or in their own homes so that they understand the benefit and engage in using it. Equally the professionals who deliver healthcare need to be brought along the journey and communicated with consistently, and involved in the development of this technology. And finally the local suppliers, like ourselves, who deliver it, need to be engaged and work in partnership.
View the original article in Business Brief magazine here.