THE BLOG
11/09/2013 09:04 BST | Updated 10/11/2013 05:12 GMT

GP at Your iService

From health equipment to digital records, Britain has made huge strides over the past few years to modernise and revolutionise the NHS. In the age of austerity, the NHS needs to move with the times and use technology to become leaner and better.

Traditionally, GPs have seen their local patients in a nearby surgery and this has become second nature for the majority of us. But what if you could use technology to retain the same level of care and maximise the GP's time? Did you know that 90 per cent of all interactions in healthcare are face-to-face and that every 1 per cent reduction in face-to-face contact could save the taxpayer up to £200m? But what has technology got to do with this I hear you ask?

Telemedicine - the use of technology to support clinical medicine and communication is a rapidly developing area of healthcare which is growing in popularity. So much so that The Department of Health announced over 40 IT projects across the NHS are to benefit from £2.2m funding.

Telemedicine can give patients the option to speak to a doctor in the comfort of their own home or at a location more convenient to them. Telemedicine is changing the face of the doctor-patient relationship, whether it's enabling patients to speak to Doctors by webcam from the comfort of their own home or giving the doctor the option to supervise their patient from a distance, there are huge benefits for both diagnosis and treatment. This service is particularly essential for those who need immediate assessment such as those at risk of or victims of a stroke.

Because the signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly it's critical to get the right treatment in the first four hours after symptoms occur. We've worked with the NHS to bring out of hours care to 2.2 million people across Cumbria and Lancashire, making specialist stroke consultants available 24/7 via webcams in their homes. Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust estimated that 24 more patients will survive a stroke each year thanks to Telestroke.

But it doesn't stop there! Developments in online services will mean patients no longer have to drive through the snow to visit a doctor or wait around the surgery for a prescription. Telehealth is helping the elderly to live more independently and support those who find it difficult to travel. For example, people in remote areas or those with limited access to public transport. Soon, patients will be able to order their medicine online and get consultation around the clock by instant messaging and video conferencing. With remote and online access being made available for prescriptions and treatment, the patient's journey is made far easier and less painful and the hospital is able to cut costs at the same time.

So there you have it. With lifesaving projects like these being rolled out, we can continue to celebrate our health service as being one of the most comprehensive and efficient in the world. With GP's and nurses continuing to do some amazing work on the ground, plus a great new range of technology being invested and integrated into the National Health Service, we're going to see the NHS remain a shining beacon of care for generations to come.

Jeff Wollen, executive sales director - partner markets and public sector, Virgin Media Business

www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk