Last week’s technology news highlighted a number of interesting stories. Firstly, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled plans for a technology revolution in healthcare. The aim is to have a paperless NHS by 2018, which will provide more tailored, personal patient care. The initiative will see patients able to view their medical history with hospitals, social care, community and mental health services and NHS ‘kitemarks’ will be introduced for trusted smartphone apps, allowing patients to access services online. Hunt said that:

“I want the NHS to be a world class showcase of what innovation can achieve. Today’s plan sets out how we can give patients 21st century, personalised healthcare.”

Paperless initiatives are already underway in many healthcare organisations. South Tyneside NHS Trust has succeeded in making its board meetings completely paperless, with members now reviewing relevant documentation on their iPads via Huddle, as has NHS Stockport CCG. In addition, NHS Stockport CCG turned to Huddle’s cloud collaboration service to help support its ongoing transformation programme to deliver more joined-up health and social care across the community, so it’s great to see a more connected, joined-up NHS – with technology at its heart – play such a key role in Hunt’s plans for the future. Having all parties involved in patient care working together more effectively and accessing the correct and most up-to-date information is vital to a more streamlined health service.

Providing patients with access to their care records on the move via laptops and mobiles, along with the ability to note their preferences and comments, will undoubtedly be a welcome move. We’re now all accustomed to managing our finances, travel, retail and more online and on the move. However, when it comes to storing, sharing and accessing patient data, a huge amount of care needs to be taken with security measures and controls. It’s reassuring to see the plans for a kitemark, validating apps safe for patients’ use.

In other news, the fact that Coca-Cola is facing a class-action lawsuit hit the headlines as a former employee claims he has been the victim of identity fraud following the theft of 55 unencrypted laptops. The devices contained the records of 74,000 current and former employees, including 18,000 social security numbers. It is clear that organization have to be vigilant about how and where data is stored. The loss or theft of organizations’ devices – laptops, phones and USB drives – regularly makes the news and it’s clear that companies are still failing to roll-out sufficient, multi-layer security strategies. Organizations need to take responsibility for information security an improve understanding across the workforce.

In a story that combines data security and healthcare, the US Federal Trade Commission has been holding meetings with Apple to ensure that private health information – collected by the company’s phones tablets, and soon smartwatches – is not used without the consent of its owner. As personal healthcare data is increasingly used in health and fitness apps and devices, it’s incredibly important that it’s protected accordingly. It’s great to see that the agency has shown such an interest in ensuring public data is safeguarded.

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