Scott Andrew, healthcare industry director at Dell Technologies UK, argues that while everyone is wondering what the NHS will look like in the future, now is the time to invest wisely in the technology to deliver for the patients of tomorrow
According to a new report, Generation Z is prioritising investment in digital health services to address capacity issues
The difficulties currently facing the NHS are well reported, with the service struggling to deliver on the expectations and needs of today’s citizens.
And, as pressure continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly clear that the digitalisation of the service must become part of the solution.
As we contemplate the future of the NHS, and plan for this, the voices and perspectives of the younger generation are essential to consider, particularly as they will eventually inherit the system.
The decisions made today regarding investment will have a significant and long-lasting impact on those needing to rely on its outcomes.
Looking at this more closely, a recent study conducted by Dell Technologies investigated Generation Z’s attitudes to, and expectations of, key societal issues, including the healthcare industry.
The decisions made today regarding investment will have a significant and long-lasting impact on those needing to rely on its outcomes
And the data revealed that this generation wants the Government to prioritise making digital-first investments and is willing to accept short-term economic limitations in order for the Government to do so.
The study revealed that Gen Z understands that compromise may be needed to ensure a more-sustainable and resilient future.
What’s more, this generation recognises the potential of technology to tackle some of the most-significant societal challenges we face today, and would like to see it become more central to the strategies designed to address them; even if that means taking a short-term economic hit.
According to the same study, digitalising healthcare is considered one of the top spending priorities for Gen Z globally, particularly for the UK.
The study revealed that Gen Z’s biggest concerns in the UK are long wait times for appointments and treatments (16%) while seeing a doctor face to face is considered less of a priority (6%).
These long wait lists endured by patients needing an appointment are already impacting Gen Z, with 38% claiming they don’t make appointments for this very reason.
According to the same study, digitalising healthcare is considered one of the top spending priorities for Gen Z globally, particularly for the UK
These findings are telling and clearly show Gen Z’s priorities for change and vision for technology’s role in the future.
To tackle the problems causing the most concern among Gen Z, enabling remote consultations and ensuring a robust, secure digital infrastructure will be essential to building a better healthcare system capable of providing an efficient, high-quality service and keeping patient data safe.
Workers within the NHS need better support through efficient and fit-for-purpose digital systems, able to connect data points for improved care services that better deliver on the expectations of those who need it.
Further down the line, these data points could help personalise patient care and provide valuable insights for operational teams to streamline processes and reduce inefficiencies.
But, for this to happen, the industry needs funding and assistance to facilitate the adoption of new technologies that can potentially transform operations.
While utilising data to inform strategy and speed up processes will be hugely beneficial to the service and those using it, the proliferation of sensitive information within the system brings with it its own unique challenges.
Privacy concerns are increasing and according to Dell’s study, Gen Z currently lacks confidence in the NHS’s abilities to handle sensitive data adequately.
Over half of the respondents (54%) had little confidence in the ability of healthcare providers to store personal data compliantly.
And this finding is particularly concerning if implementing better data-sharing techniques is needed to enhance healthcare.
Industry needs funding and assistance to facilitate the adoption of new technologies that can potentially transform operations
As data volumes grow, and new regulatory requirements come into play, IT efficiency and innovation become critical.
The key is to connect IT and business transformation with a more-modernised infrastructure that makes it simpler, more reliable, and more secure to turn data into value for patients, providers, researchers, and healthcare systems.
With these findings in mind, there is an opportunity to earn the support of Gen Z for longer-term strategies that put digital transformation at the core of revolutionising healthcare and other economic growth strategies.
Interestingly, the data from Dell revealed that acceptance of investing today for a digital tomorrow increases to 47% among those likely to vote, making it a potential vote winner as the UK looks to drive our future-facing economy.
Gen Z is crying out for change and is open to compromising where they need to, but only with adequate funding and support from government can the system improve and become fit for future generations
As technology’s role in healthcare settings continues to grow, it is essential to consider where to prioritise investment to enable these new innovative solutions to deliver efficiencies, transform patient care, and build on the partnerships that drive it.
The recent joint two-year plan between the Government and NHS England exemplifies a positive step in the right direction and a welcome move. But further financial support to continue initiatives and increase digital transformation – particularly across healthcare – is vital and will result in further prosperity for the UK.
Given that the public sector, including the NHS, is such a huge employer and an essential part of our economy, it must be considered a core part of a digital revolution.
Gen Z is crying out for change and is open to compromising where they need to, but only with adequate funding and support from government can the system improve and become fit for future generations.