Supply and demand; a simple concept that is having a devastating impact on health and social care in this country. The system is underfunded and yet continues to face exasperating waiting lists, untreated people waiting on trolleys to be admitted to A&E and insufficient management of patients’ long-term health conditions. The real consequence of all of this ongoing decline is people suffering whilst their caregivers are unable to deploy their expertise because they are under resourced and overworked.

We all know that the health and social care system in this country is at a precipice, facing the most difficult time in its 70 year history. The system needs adapting in a number of ways, to improve the outcomes of the people it cares for and to improve efficiencies for caregivers at the point of care, but can technology help?

Digitising an industry, any industry, is no mean feat and health and social care is certainly no different, it can’t be done with an individualistic mindset held by hospitals and vendors. It takes a continuum of collaboration, partnership and strive by all stakeholders, internal and external, not only needing but wanting a coordinated and efficient health and care system. Alas, sometimes in this industry we find ourselves ‘having’ to change rather that ‘wanting’ to, which is understandable given the major stresses that frontline health and social care staff find themselves under; why would advances in technology be at the forefront of their priorities, when they have people to care for?

However, those pressures don’t look to be easing with budget cuts, a growing population, more people with more comorbidities and people living longer, the list goes on. This is all happening whilst technological advances in all areas of our lives, seem to be occurring on a daily basis. Given these continued pressures, things need to change to allow us all to address growing health and social care costs, whilst battling decreasing budgets.

So, what is the answer? Well, just like one technology system doesn’t fit all requirements across health and social care and takes collaboration across the board to work, neither is there a one answer fits all for how we tackle silos in health and social care.

To disrupt these silos, and to allow internal and external transparency, health and social care organisations must embrace change, be pioneers for new technologies and drive the use of these technologies forward, for a more efficient health and social care system. But, and it’s a big ‘but’, the responsibility isn’t just theirs.

All providers of technological advancement and digital infrastructure share this responsibility and, as a leading provider to health and social care organisations, we should not only be concerned with, but accountable for ensuring we don’t simply sell organisations ‘IT’, but rather, guarantee intrinsic needs are married with suitable, affordable and scalable solutions.

This goes back to collaboration and partnership, which must be ongoing. We need to see a different approach; not one where health and social care organisations buy a solution and are made to change. But one where they are explicitly involved in ascertaining the nuances of the solution and how it makes a difference to their roles, in an extremely tough environment.

To empower this approach, the selling process for suppliers must be predicated on a trusted advisor position. The selling organisation doesn’t simply have a role to sell, but a duty to help enable health and social care organisations to change and to adopt new technologies that efficiently tackle their pressures head on.