The NHS’ national screening programmes have an international reputation. From screening a wide range of different cancers, to screening new born babies, screening has the potential to identify diseases earlier when they are more easily treated. This is why it is so important to reach out to as many eligible people as possible, especially those from vulnerable groups.
The need to manually capture information into outdated systems is one of the ways that increases risk of error and wastes staff time. The NHS is currently using different technologies for the various screening programmes, and many are outdated.
Another problem is that the information for the people who are invited for screening is often inaccurate or lacking vital information. This can cause many problems, like missing people who aren’t registered with a GP, or asking people to come to a hospital appointment who can’t come because they are not able to travel.
Within NHSX, they want to improve the working lives of staff by understanding how technology can better the NHS screening services. This will ensure that more eligible people are reached, and time and resources are not wasted.
The NHSX are interested in hearing all about current and previous attempts to improve the screening services. They have a small team who have been conversing with the people who are involved with the screening services. They have started to map services in order to identify “pain points” and commonalities.
This exercise has helped them identify some systematic governance as well as funding issues which have contributed to slow improvement which has in turn prevented screening services from reaching the potential users.
Although they realise there may still be gaps in their knowledge, they have also been accumulating other user research and speaking to people who have already done research pertaining to screening. The data comes from interviewing both patients and staff who have been part of the research process.
The NHSX still needs to focus on many problems in this area. They are willing to learn as far as possible, and to help users by partnering with other teams already involved in improving screening. They want to work in the open as much as they can and remain transparent throughout the whole process.