Digital Powys is the first live project of Digital Wales, the Welsh Government’s digital strategy, which includes, among its aims, the provision of more efficient public services with joined-up delivery of education, health and social care.
Different multi-media applications and programmes will be adopted by Digital Powys to ensure more effective and convenient healthcare, closer to home - cutting down on the need for patients to travel both within and out of county for certain treatments.
Powys teaching Health Board, working closely with Powys County Council, is heading up the initiative, in cooperation with several private sector companies, including Microsoft UK, Esri UK, Tinopolis and Brain-in-Hand Ltd.
New, easy-to-use video and phone conferencing, which avoids the need to travel long distances for certain medical consultations, is one of the applications being adopted. An innovative computer mapping system, which will help doctors plan treatments more efficiently, is also being implemented. Other applications include assistive technology, using smart mobile phones, that supports independence for people with long-term conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome. This technology is linked to a server, which enables a support team to provide ‘real time’ help.
A new system to broadcast public health messages across a range of platforms – from TV screens in GP surgeries and pharmacies to online and social media - will also be put into action.
Mel Evans, Chair of Powys teaching Health Board said:
“This exciting project sees rural health and technology come together to address a range of issues, from patient transport to managing mental health, leading healthy lifestyles and preventing illness.
“Digital Powys also sees the health board fulfil its teaching remit by providing our doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare staff with the latest skills and technologies to deliver the next generation of healthcare in Powys.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths, said:
“This innovative partnership has the potential to be rolled out across Wales, making an impact in particular in rural areas, where cutting-edge technology will lessen the need to travel far for certain appointments, which will help improve patient care.
“Providing more high-quality care close to home is a vital element of NHS Wales service change. We expect to see an expansion of community services – with a renewed focus on prevention - as part of the new pattern of healthcare emerging across the country.”