What’s next? Perspectives on healthcare in the UK

The past year has been an uphill battle for our healthcare partners, and it’s been an honor to support them through any challenge as it comes. We’ve achieved so much together, and I’m proud of the role Cisco and technology play in helping both patients and providers. I believe it is important to capitalize on the momentum of technology upgrading and adoption to deliver home healthcare across the UK in the long term. However, after a year like 2020, while it’s exciting to start looking to the future of healthcare in the UK, I would be remiss not to start by looking back.

The early days of COVID-19

While we are all uncertain about what will happen in early March 2020, our healthcare teams are only a few days ahead, trying to prepare for what the unknown will bring. As lockdowns rolled in, we’ve helped more than 350 trust and Primary Care Organizations move non-essential workers home with secure, remote collaboration. We’ve installed networking and collaboration platforms – removing user and licensing restrictions temporarily – ensuring everyone is as safe and connected as possible.

Calls for help started overloading the 111 service and capacity was reached within a few days. Our solutions teams are tasked with strengthening the system to enable respondents to efficiently categorize those calls and deliver timely care to those who need it most. We’ve activated 1,000 additional home agents, taking the strain off the 111 existing abilities.

Accelerating acute care

As the number of cases increases, so does the need for intensive care. We’ve worked with our NHS partners to create a dedicated COVID-19 hospital template ‘The Nightingale in the Box’ – a template that can be set up literally anywhere. Our aim was to create simplicity in design, fast deployment, and support from Cisco TAC. Conferences and stadiums around the country, enabled with Wi-Fi connectivity, are home to makeshift field hospitals capable of treating the sickest patients – using networks, software and Medical equipment is usually for the top level ICU. Since those medical assets have been rounded off, it’s imperative to keep track of all of them, medical equipment, ventilators, and more. We helped make all of this a reality through a cohesive strategy, built from the ground up by our Cisco solution architects.

The end in sight

When we finally learned a vaccine was available, UK Health Services called on Cisco again. After the success of Nightingale, vaccination centers popped up. Working with our Healthcare partners, the plan is to roll out a robust network in 1800 non-medical locations, deploying the connectivity, security and Wi-Fi networks needed. needed to deliver safe and affordable vaccinations – with 600 in a phase one plan that we’ve agreed to on a cloud-based design that can be deployed at scale. The solution is an integral part of ongoing immunization efforts across the UK.

What’s Next for Healthcare in the UK

While we are buoyed by widespread vaccine distribution in the UK, COVID-19 continues. And so are the changes and challenges it poses to our health systems; one has been struggling. We have seen the adoption of virtual care without representation and asked how can that continue? We will have to keep pace with the recovery and backlog of referrals and care for those currently dealing with long-term COVID effects. All of this will require a sustainable plan around cloud-based services.

At Cisco, we look to a future of holistic recovery, and I believe the long-term viability of our systems lies in the further deployment of the technology and connectivity COVID-19 forces us to grasp. We need powerful, scalable platforms that can generate insights and visibility and manage IoT assets. Cloud-based healthcare platforms will be key in moving the UK Health System forward. We know that adopting these types of solutions will ease the strain on our health systems, and COVID-19 has shown that can happen at breakneck speed.

So yeah, let’s think about what’s next for healthcare in the UK.

Stay up to date with the latest in healthcare thought leadership with our #HealthcareNow blog and learn more about how Cisco is re-orienting healthcare for the future


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