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DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY DAVE HEWITT – SALES & MARKETING MANAGER, COURTNEY THORNE, UK


Digital transformation of health and socialcare


As with many things in life, COVID-19 has accelerated pre-existing trends. One of the impacts of the virus on healthcare has been the embrace of digital technology. Here, Courtney Thorne sales & marketing manager Dave Hewitt outlines the rewards but also the risks of going digital.


Much is written and debated about how the so-called digital transformation will miraculously transform healthcare. During the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing, repurposing of healthcare facilities, and all the measures put in place to both treat and slow down transmission led to an increase in digital solutions being tried, some very successfully. But what does digital actually mean? Is it all it perceives to be? Or is it simply large numbers of technology companies trying to get their solution to the widest market, as fast as possible and for as long as possible? Throughout the world health and


social care are at the forefront in technology research and consumption. In many cases key decisions are made based on short-term savings, sometimes while under great pressure to deliver positive results or to replace outdated systems. At times risk assessment can be weak and often there can be little thought to long-term viability. How many of us have old mobile phones that are redundant after only a few years due to poor battery performance and lack of software support? The pressure for health and care


organisations to adopt a digital strategy is huge and may lead healthcare service providers into making impulsive decisions just to satisfy political and market forces, only to find they have invested in expensive white elephants in just a few short years. The UK’s National Health Service is a


Healthcare is undergoing a digital transformation.


goliath in terms of budget, workforce and points of access for healthcare, much applauded and celebrated while constantly criticised in the media often for the wrong reasons. Decisions can take years to conclude with countless stakeholders - often with opposing agendas - trying to understand technology, find the right fit at the right price before it becomes superseded by something newer and better. The NHS, for example, is still heavily reliant on pagers using 1980s radio technology.1 Pagers are proving difficult to supplant


since they always work, are simple to deploy, simple to use and relatively cost- effective. Compare that with smart


Dave Hewitt Dave Hewitt is the sales and marketing Manager at Courtney


Thorne. Most of Dave’s career has been involved in electronic security, his most recent role prior to joining Courtney Thorne in 2017 was as sales director at a Mobile Telco delivering secure mobile, IoT and smart solutions into the UK health sector. Since joining Courtney Thorne, Dave has championed the


company’s lead with its smart innovative wireless nurse call and alarm solutions used in hospitals and care homes throughout the UK and across the world.


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mobile devices, which are complex, expensive, at risk of theft, and reliant on wifi always being available throughout the whole site, both indoors and outside.


AI on the march However, much of the digital future seems to rely upon smart mobile technology, and some of this is to be welcomed as simpler, faster and more environmentally friendly way to do some activities. Reducing the amount of administration and paperwork is always a good thing, having information to hand instantly is a massive benefit, but is it all about smartphones? No, it is not. Artificial intelligence (AI) is


slowly creeping into all our lives whether we like or not. Already our trusted smartphone knows many aspects of our everyday life, where we are, where we have been, where we like to eat, which shops we visit and so on. Some of us turn off all these checks on our lives, but most of us do not and there are now a couple of generations who have known nothing else and take these things for granted. In healthcare, AI can and will continue


to make a positive impact as algorithms created from millions of data enable qualified staff to make quicker decisions.


IFHE DIGEST 2021


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