O2 Health is O2’s project to discover and develop ways to improve healthcare. It’s about helping both the NHS and private organisations to deliver better care, more efficiently. Read on to find out how it makes a difference.
That’s a really timely project with the NHS needing to find savings and private organisations likely to take a bigger role in delivering services. But how does O2 Health affect you? Well, we’ve rounded up some of the key innovations O2 Health is working on to give you an insight into how they’ll improve the way your health and well being is looked after in the future. Read on for a glimpse of the healthcare of tomorrow!
Doctors plus iPhones = more informed medicine
The amount of information doctors and other clinical staff need to keep in their heads and to access to do their jobs is vast. O2 Health is already easing that burden with the iPhone. At Leeds University medical school, 520 fourth and fifth year students have been issued with iPhones preloaded with apps to help them get a jump on their studies. The apps enable them to record notes on cases they’ve observed or attended and get access to electronic versions of textbooks and reference works rather than having to battle for a copy from the library.
While the current iPhone trial is relatively limited it shows how smartphones could help healthcare professionals and in turn make your experience as a patient better. With a smartphone filled with appropriate apps and linking to important medical information, doctors, nurses and other medical staff will be able to augment their own knowledge and experience with a wealth of data directly from the cloud, instantly tapping into a much broader range of information not to mention the ability to rapidly dig deeper on specific topics.
Digital pen technology means your records get updated correctly
Paperwork is one of the NHS’s biggest problems and O2 Health is working on solutions to make the process a lot easier. Using Blackberry devices combined with digital pens, O2 Health was able to drastically reduce the amount of time spent on paperwork by community midwives in Portsmouth. The big benefit of digital pens for patients is that your records are updated immediately meaning a reduced risk of lost records or mistakes. Remotely updated records also means that there is a record of where and when your were visited. Finally, digital pen technology also means the curse of (some) doctors’ terrible handwriting could be over.
Never forget your appointment again
Keeping track of your appointments can be tricky, especially when you have the kind of condition that means you need to frequently visit your doctor or the hospital. According to the Department of Health, “did not attends” (people who just didn’t turn up) cost the NHS £614m every year while Imperial College London estimates the total is higher (£789m) and suggest the NHS could save £370m a year through appointment reminders via text. O2 Health is expert at creating text messaging and reminder systems and is also working on methods to send appointment reminders, prescription notes and information on medications to patients’ mobiles or computers.
Side by Side: see a specialist wherever you are
Getting to specialists can be pretty difficult for people living in remote areas but O2 Health is working on a number of projects to make that simpler. NHS Western Isles has 26,000 patients spread across a handful of islands. Many are 30 miles off the mainland and can be stuck at home due to bad weather conditions and cancelled ferries and flights.
O2 Health developed Side by Side, a tool that provides a video and voice link between medical practitioners and patients. The system allows them to speak to each other and view files including MRIs, X-rays and patient records. In the future there are obviously ways in which Side by Side could be expanded to support services and to further parts of the NHS to cover other vulnerable or isolated patients who may not be able to make contact with services directly.
Visit the O2 Health site for more information on the innovations the team are working on and hit the comments below to let us know how you think technology could improve healthcare.