Technology can offer district nursing, and primary care nursing in general, many benefits, including more productive use of time, improved communication, better patient access, remote observation of patients and the ability to consult with patients without being in their homes, among others. This and more was covered at the QNI's District Nursing in the Digital Age conference, held on 16 February in Kensington, London. It was well-attended, proving there is an appetite for technological modernisation in district nursing. Increasingly the NHS is lagging behind the rest of the working world with regard to technology.
I marvel every time I visit my local hospital, a large London teaching hospital, at some of the inefficiencies and wastage, which would be so easy to fix in any other workplace. Greater use of technology to address existing problems or do things more efficiently could re-energise primary care nurses and remove some of the burden that contributes to their often beleagured state.
The highlight of the conference for me was the revelation that patients could request that their GPs make their records available to them online. A little known fact. The presentation on what the benefits of this had been to a practice in Manchester, which had operated this system for the past 10 years, was a revelation. I hope the day-long conference will become a regular event, providing nurses with a forum to discuss highs and lows, and learn about new ways of using technology in their day-to-day work.
Technology often requires change. Change can be scary but nothing will improve without it.