Public Services > Healthcare

The paradigm shift in healthcare

Published 24 January 2017

Tameside GP Dr Amir Hannan says technology is changing the way we live our lives. But there are long waiting times in A&Es and GP surgeries. He asks, “How can we transform healthcare?


Technology is changing the way we live our lives.

88% of the population has accessed the internet in the last 3 months at least once. Candace Payne uploads a video of herself in a Chewbacca mask on facebook and 164 million people around the world watch it. She mentions Kohl’s department store twice and the company’s app leaps to the top of the iOS app store. WhatsApp has signed up a billion active users in just five years. Amazon Go launches this year and you can literally walk into a store, pick up what you want and walk out – no queuing at the till, scanning barcodes or waiting for a receipt to print. It all happens via your smartphone and “simple” technology. Give users what they want and revenue follows.

Except in healthcare….

The predominant method to access healthcare remains ringing the surgery, booking an appointment and then waiting to be seen with your GP or nurse who tells you what to do. Eye-watering amounts of money have been spent on IT projects that have failed to deliver the promise. Now there is a crisis in the NHS with long waiting times in A&Es and GP surgeries and people don’t feel the benefits. The question we are all asking is why and what can we do to change things. How can we transform healthcare?

Healthcare is not the same as online entertainment, shopping or banking

It is not just data or data sharing. Watching an entertaining video online about your health, buying a blood pressure machine or booking an appointment online will not automatically change your world for the better. Why? Because healthcare is a team sport which requires you to be active participants with the team around you. The best players in the world of sport play as a team, not as individuals however great they may be. The manager helps to build a golden thread which brings everybody together – the captain, the players, the support staff and the fans to help achieve the goal.

Partnership Of Trust

You as a patient are an expert in your own health. You know how your body functions. You know your family and work environment. The clinician is an expert in what healthcare can offer locally. The electronic health record supports the clinician by showing salient features from the past medical history, what is elicited during your encounter with them and what the plans are for the future. The consultation between patient and clinician is the unit of healthcare where this happens predominantly. An explicit consent process is necessary for responsibly sharing the electronic health record with you, the patient, and the clinician. A Partnership of Trust forms when you and your clinician gain a better understanding of each other, through sharing the record and what this means for you. We are then all on the same page. Seeing the same clinician develops the relationship and builds continuity. Somebody who knows you and is ready to support you when you need them most with a realistic expectation allowing you to feel more in control. Trusting patients with information and providing access to your electronic health record as well as continuity can encourage more responsible use of care services.

#Empowerlution – empowering patients, carers, clinicians, managers and organisations

Let’s enable you to learn about your healthcare, practice what you learn and share what you know. Let’s enable clinicians to share their knowledge with you. Let them offer “social prescribing” alongside “medical prescriptions”. Let’s encourage managers to help deliver a graceful service.  Who wants to wait for an appointment, sit in A&E or have a repeat blood test done if you feel safer and know more about yourself and the people and services around you? You choose to spend your time with your family, in work and in the community you inhabit doing the things you enjoy.  

The Paradigm Shift in Healthcare

Patients and the public register with a General Practice which remains at the heart of the NHS. GP practices can be funded to encourage most patients and families to have access to their electronic health records. You can learn about your care, link it to personal data on your smartphone or in the cloud, monitor your progress with your own goals and can then share with others in your wider care team and beyond. Carers can do this too. Communities can support patients and families just like yours to enjoy health as well as shape care services that meet your needs better. The fully engaged , activated patient enjoys health more, costs the tax payer less and spends less time in care establishments.

Give patients, carers, clinicians and managers what they want and witness the transformation in care!


Dr Hannan is a full-time General Practitioner at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres in Hyde, Tameside and the co-Chair of the Greater Manchester NHS Values Group, Chair of West Pennine Local Medical Committee and Chair of the Association the Greater Manchester Local Medical Committees. He is a member of the Equality Diversity Council, NHS England. He is also Chair of the World Health Innovation Summit. 54% of the patients at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres (more than 6,500 patients) now have access to their full GP electronic health records. Here is a webinar he did with Eduserv recently. You can follow him on twitter @amirhannan.




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