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Digital technology vital to future of Scottish NHS

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The Scottish Governent aims to provide full eHealt The Scottish Governent aims to provide full eHealth services by 2020

The Scottish health secretary, Shona Robinson, has outlined the Scottish Government's plans to use technology to improve the health service in Scotland.

Ms Robinson announced the plans at the Holyrood Telehealth and Telecare Conference on 29 April. As part of the Scottish Government's Strategy for eHealth in Scotland, the plans intend to provide everyone in the country with access to digital information on health and social care.

The Scottish Government has already invested £360 million in eHealth services since 2011, which has allowed them to implement the Key Information Summary (KIS) in all GP practices across Scotland. The KIS provides information to patients with long-term conditions who are likely to require care at weekends or out-of-hours.

At the conference, Ms Robinson said: 'Digital technology is now part of our everyday lives and NHS Scotland is already using technology to improve many of our health and care services. We believe that everyone's health and wellbeing can be better supported through greater use of technology innovations – providing fully person-centred care that fits well within an increasingly digital lifestyle.'

The plans also aim to ensure the availability of funding for replacement and modernisation of existing digital services, and fill in gaps in electronic information coverage and systems integration.

Ms Robinson added: 'This must be a priority for all health services around the world. If not, patients will start to ask – quite rightly – why access and interaction with healthcare services has not moved into the 21st century. As such, digital access is key to planning for the future of the NHS in Scotland.'

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