Digital Health and Care Explained
Last week our Operations Assistant Hannah attended the Digital Health and Care Explained event. Here's what she found out...
With speakers from the department of health and social care, and from private sector organisations who work closely with the health sector, there was certainly a lot to take in. We learned about the digital aspects of the NHS long term plan, as well as the future vision of NHSX and NHS England, with the choice of more focused breakout sessions in the afternoon. Though it would be impossible to detail every piece of knowledge I gained from the conference, here’s a summary of the key insights.
The conference began with the King’s Fund’s Matthew Honeyman’s overview of the DHSC national policy agenda, covering a number of different reports such as the 2019 Topol Review: Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future. After providing a useful breakdown of the various departments involved in the health sector, he went on to discuss the key digital priorities in the NHS long term plan, as follows:
- The ‘right’ to digital primary care by 2024
- 1/3 of outpatient appointments shifted to remote digital consults
- CCIOs (Chief Clinical Information Officers) on every board by 2021/22
- Remote monitoring and wearables at home become routine in ten years
Next, Indra Joshi, Digital Health and AI Clinical Lead at NHS England. She discussed the main needs of the NHS, in order to create a trusted and consistent digital ecosystem for all users:
- Create national platforms, products and components to be used widely across the NHS – such as the NHS App.
- Maintain and adhere to toolkits and standards across all platforms–including the code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology.
- Drive digital adoption and uptake regional and locally.
For the most up-to-date information in this respect, keep an eye on the NHS digital health and care services roadmap, which is updated every 3 months.
In the next session, The King’s Fund’s own Senior Policy Analyst, David Maguire went on the discuss ‘the human challenges of digital’, emphasising the need for adaptability and digitally readiness across government organisations. Relatedly, Eddie Olla from NHS England noted that the NHS have followed the same model of healthcare since it came into being, so there is a need for human change in order to accommodate digital change! Without this, the gap between the demands of the NHS, and the realities of what they are able to provide, cannot be closed.
Another key goal of the NHS–detailed in the NHS Long Term Plan–is known as the ‘Triple Integration Aim’. That is, the integration of:
- Primary and specialist care
- Physical and mental health services
- Health and social care
Integration became a prominent theme throughout the day, the general consensus being that, for digital transformation to successfully occur across the health and social care landscape, there needs to exist integration and interoperability between departments.
This is equally important within the context of social care, as emphasised by Richard Humpries (The King’s Fund). With regards to the third point in the triple integration aim, social care remains relatively detached from the resources and funding made available to the NHS. Therefore, in joining up these departments, knowledge sharing can increase, reducing wasted funding and ultimately improving lives!
Crucially, Alyson Scurfield, Chief Executive at TSA noted that technology should not be the driver of change in social care; it should be people. In other words, we must think from the perspective of service users, carers and communities in order to deliver the digital transformation that is really needed. Relatedly, look out for the imminent release of the social care Green Paper, which will discuss the plans and priorities for this department.
That’s it! Overall, a really informative event. If you’re a client of ours, further information about the discussions that took place—as well as a more in-depth analysis of the health sector’s digital landscape—will follow as part of our new quarterly sector analysis reports.