Digital services and new technology will play a key part in the future delivery of healthcare services, Welsh Government announced yesterday as part of its COVID-19 health and social care recovery plan.
The report, Improving health and social care (COVID-19 looking forward) | GOV.WALES, highlights how digital services were quickly able to support changes to make healthcare accessible during the pandemic, with a rapid switch to remote and video consultations.
COVID-19 has accelerated changes which were already in progress. For example, Microsoft Teams and other technologies to support remote working were already planned but were rolled out within weeks to the whole NHS Wales workforce. A national contact tracing platform and a national vaccine system were developed centrally and made available to health and social care organisations across Wales, in a standardised way. The NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) has played a key role in this work, and will continue to do so from April as Digital Health and Care Wales, a new NHS Wales organisation for national digital services.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our health and social care system, patients and staff. As we emerge from the most serious stage of the pandemic, we are now in a position to set out how we can start to recover.
“New technology, much of which emerged during the pandemic, will play a key part in the future delivery of services and today the Welsh Government also announced £1.26m to set up a centre to promote the use of new technologies in health and social care. The investment will allow Technology Enabled Care Cymru to promote the use of new technologies, such as virtual consultation and remote monitoring of patients at home.”