According to a recent survey from FastCompany, given the option only 37% of people want to communicate via voice call. The remaining 63% of us would opt for a text based interaction relying on SMS, email or an instant messenger platform such as Whatsapp.
Although there are many tech based startups recognising and capitalising upon this continuing change in our communicative preferences, few of them are working with the giants of industry in a way that will evolve the systems and services that drive much of our society.
At Elephant, we have been looking at how these changes in communication can be best used to evolve the NHS service; to make it more efficient, affordable and effective. In NHS news released yesterday, an investment of £256.3million will be going into the GP contract for 2018/19 which is an increase of 3.4% on this time last year.
One of the core objectives of the contract is to use digital tools to help patients get quicker and easier access to family doctors and specialists. The contract will focus on rolling out the Electronic Prescription Service and development of the e-referral service which will improve the processing of passing patients through various NHS departments and divisions.
In addition to this, the NHS 111 service will be used to triage patients before the are directed to booking a GP appointment and although we understand the theory behind this, we wonder if asking patients to go through a 111 screening is a counter intuitive step in terms of digital direction.
The reality is, very few of us want to make a phone call particularly when we are asked to hold or forced through a option driven process before reaching a ‘real person’. We are slowly but surely growing a distaste for verbal communication and instead prefer the power of SMS, email or real time digital interaction on social media or via on site instant messaging technology so why are we assuming the 111 service is the solution to the overwhelming pressure GP services find themselves under.
The reality is, the concept of the 111 service really works and extracts some basic information from patients to understand what they need and when they need it. The 111 call handlers ask questions that help them understand our level of health, the category of our need and the urgency of our requirement. It helps GPs and other medical experts take a proactive approach and saves a huge number of man hours, and therefore costs, associated with a basic health check and top level diagnosis.
At Elephant, we believe that this interaction is one that should be fully automated with the use technology and self managed at interactive kiosks, available at easily accessible points throughout the NHS.
In fact, it’s not only us that thinks that – we’ve had lots of support for our concept and our trials and installations which have taken place across the UK, have been well received.
At Elephant, it’s time for us to take a big step forward and do our bit to drive the digitally led health revolution. If you would like to join us, please connect with us @elephantkiosks or by visiting our crowdcube campaign here.