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Digital transformation, the use of data and AI in healthcare are already changing the way NHS services are commissioned and delivered.

The use of apps in healthcare is growing but largely unregulated. The NHS App is changing the way patients interact with their own data and medications.

According to the latest update on Data Saves Lives: the data strategy for health and social care, as of May 2023, there have been 32.3 million registered sign-ups to the NHS App.

This is equivalent to just under 73% of the adult population, and nearing the March 2024 target of 75%.

And since the NHS App’s launch in December 2018, more than 42 million repeat prescriptions have been ordered through the app.

One in four patients now have online access to their new health record information, but by 31 October this year, the plan is for all patients to have this access unless they have individually opted-out or any exemptions apply.

A push to get GP practices to use cloud-based telephony and tackle the 8am rush has seen £240 million re-targeted to help upgrade practices still on analogue phones as part of the Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care.

More broadly the UK is pushing ahead with trying to lead the conversation on AI hosting a global summit at Bletchley Park at the start of November.

And population health management is seen as a key way of managing patients through better use of data as signalled last year by clinical data expert, Professor Ben Goldacre in his review in which he wrote: ‘73 years of complete NHS patient records contain all the noise from millions of lifetimes. Perfect, subtle signals can be coaxed from this data, and those signals go far beyond mere academic curiosity. They represent deeply buried treasure, that can help prevent suffering and death, around the planet, on a biblical scale. It is our collective duty to make this work’.

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