Experts have said that age “shouldn’t be a barrier” in implementing the uptake of new technology in the NHS.
The organisation is notoriously backwards in terms of modern technology, but has big plans for a tech-driven future. The healthcare sector in general is still seen to be behind the times when it comes to technology, with health secretary Matt Hancock only recently putting a ban on fax machines in favour of more up-to-date technology as part of the Long Term Plan.
There are, however, arguments that the more traditional forms of communication such as pagers and fax machines are beneficial for reasons such as bad signal coverage inside hospitals.
In 2019, 91% of adults in the UK are recent internet users, with virtually all adults aged 16 to 44 years in the UK being recent internet users (99%). Despite this, just 47% of adults aged 75 years and over are recent internet users.
Dr Murray Ellender, who leads on both urgent care and operational issues for the Hurley Group, said that the “remaining ten or so percent of people who are not active online users should not be a focus of the NHS, and they should not be focusing their energy on getting that 10% online as the space that’s been freed up by moving services online can be utilised for the remaining few.
"Patients tend to adopt tech very easily, it’s the GPs that are less likely to. Technology should be and is easy enough to use, that age should not be a barrier. AI makes mistakes, but humans make mistakes too.”
A recent survey found that IT decision-makers believe outdated digital technology systems are still limiting patient care within the organisation, and that in a portion of the IT-related health sector workers, over a third (36%) of respondents’ staff have asked for faster digital technology systems, to ensure their practices run efficiently.
Similar demands are also being made by patients, with over a quarter (26%) of respondents claiming the public have asked for faster digital technology systems.