Practices who are early adopters of new technology and digital tools will see the benefits of extra support, the Management in Practice event in Newcastle heard last month.
Lisa Drake, former general practice manager and now director of quality, service and improvement at digital communications agency Redmoor Health, said though these programmes may mean some extra work in the short term, practices who adopt them early will be in a position to get additional help and shape products to suit their needs.
‘With NHS funding constantly changing and new priorities emerging, offering to be an early adopter may mean that you get access to new products to help deliver services,’ said Ms Drake.
‘There is sometimes additional programme or project management support offered as part of pilot programmes as well.’
She added that adopting a programme early could mean getting to help tailor programmes to your practice’s specific needs and problems.
‘Being an early adopter means that sometimes you get to shape and influence the design of a product,’ said Ms Drake.
‘You can test it in the early stages which can help improve the product based on your needs as a practice and those of your patients. It also means any new design plans are often shared with you by software suppliers and you get to be part of early research.’
This could also present an opportunity for practices to become ‘specialists in their own right’ within the particular programme or area of the pilot, she added.
It comes as digital transformation leads have been added to the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) this month as part of a plan to help improve patient access.
These digital leads will ‘make sure practices are using the latest technology to offer more telephone lines, monitor their call response times or offer support with the NHS app’, according to NHS England.