Under-ambitious: the Health Secretary does not go far enough

The Health Secretary’s ‘1/4 of patients’ does not go far enough.

Speaking at Expo15 (an event hosted by the NHS to celebrate innovation) Jeremy Hunt set his sights on smartphone users.  According to national stats, over 60% of the UK population now has smartphone.  Every time we check, more older people and more younger people, and in fact, just more people are choosing to log on and connect using their phone. 

So the Health Secretary has set a goal for 15% of patients (or 1/4 of those with smartphones) to be able to access healthcare information and records on apps by the end of FY 2016-17.

We think this is weak and under-ambitious.

Simply accessing information is not a proxy for digital patient engagement.  In fact, using new technologies to simply enable a paper process misses the point.  We have blogged about this before. In short, we think that the smartphone as a platform offers far more than mobile data capture and a small screen browser, because most people trust their device and use it as an extension of their personal world.  So healthcare providers should take advantage and use the device to learn preferences, track behaviours and personalise experiences. Needless to say, we practice what we preach.

So, which 15% of patients does the Health Secretary refer to?  Users of few large beacon sites?  A regional segment of the population?  A quarter of people receiving a service in primary care?

And why stop at 15%? Surely if we can do it for some, we can do it for all.

2016 is just around the corner, but we already have the capability. Perhaps we can help?