The UK Government has announced funding of £248m ($334.6m) for the National Health Service (NHS) with an aim to digitise diagnostics care and address the problem of patient waiting lists.
The funding, which will be received over the next year, will be invested by the NHS in technology to provide more diagnostic services and quicker scans, leading to accelerated treatment for patients.
The digitisation of diagnostics services across NHS hospitals will help reduce the administrative burden on staff, who in turn can dedicate more time to scans, tests and checks.
This approach will also help reduce the turnaround time from a patient taking a test to the commencement of appropriate treatment.
Across the NHS, digitisation will also lead to the sharing of tests, images and results with hospitals, labs and general practitioners (GPs) using computer systems.
As a result, even if nurses, doctors and other clinicians are working from different settings, they will still be able to gain access to results quickly and easily.
Imaging specialists will also be able to remotely analyse high-resolution images without being present in an imaging lab.
Furthermore, with the help of a new tool, doctors and other clinicians will be able to select a suitable scan for their patients according to their symptoms and medical history, which will in turn cut down inappropriate requests to radiology departments.
UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The multi-million-pound investment will play a big role in levelling up diagnostics services across the country so patients can get faster results and healthcare professionals can get their job done more easily, reducing unnecessary administrative burden, and making every taxpayer’s pound count.
“Getting a faster diagnosis for a health condition is the first step to getting more people the treatment they need and earlier on, and our funding will help ensure our NHS has access to the latest digital technology to drive up efficiency.”
Annually, more than 1.5 billion diagnostic tests are conducted in England to rule out or confirm medical conditions.
Recently, the UK Government announced £2.3bn ($3.1bn) of funding to transform diagnostic services.
This funding will help open at least 100 new community diagnostic centres across England.