Ready to take action? NHS Long Term Plan puts ‘Digital First’

NHS England has made a core commitment to investing in digitally-enabled care over the next 10 years. What questions does the plan leave us asking, and how should organisations approach digital mobilisation?
Ready to take action? NHS Long Term Plan puts ‘Digital First’
Feb 8th 2019

All transformation now needs to consider the implications of “digital”.

The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) makes it clear that digital strategy can no longer be seen as an added bonus, but rather an integral part of achieving change and improvement.

NHS England therefore sets out its technological and digital strategy in the LTP with a core commitment to digitally-enabled care.

The plan’s five areas of focus seek to improve access to NHS services, help patients and carers manage their health, and ensure clinicians are supported to provide the best care they can.

  1. Empowering people with the ability to access, manage and contribute to digital tools, information and services.
  2. Supporting health and care professionals to capture health and care information digitally at the point of care, with the aim of making technology less burdensome to staff and optimising clinical processes.
  3. Supporting clinical care using digital tools to enable greater interaction between people and their health and care services.
  4. Improving population health by deploying population health management solutions that support integrated care systems to understand the areas of greatest health need and match NHS services to meet them.
  5. Improving clinical efficiency and safety using digital technology, including Artificial Intelligence, so the NHS can deliver high quality specialist care more efficiently.

Digital transformation priorities: our view

From our experience working on digital strategy and transformation with public service organisations, we believe the following questions still need to be considered.

  • The LTP builds on Integrated Care System areas. These areas are evolving in several parts of the country and may span CCGs and STPs. How will governance be best embedded in coherent communities rather than these systems?
  • In many areas, underlying systems are not mature enough to deliver a coherent dataset. Problems that may need to be resolved include interoperabilities, normalisation and shared standards. How can the NHS improve these rapidly whilst simultaneously building more advanced capabilities, and fund these improvements in a sustainable way?
  • Digital transformation demands a variety of specialist skills. How can the NHS make itself an attractive place for more of these highly skilled individuals with digital capabilities?
  • With the continuing development of a centralised NHS app, how can the NHS continue to encourage innovation in the marketplace, and stay user-centric?

Digital First transformation in the LTP: our recommendations

We commend the NHS’s 10-year digital strategy. To achieve a Digital First approach throughout the NHS, we recommend a 5-step approach to mobilisation:

Mobilisation of a Digital First approach in the NHS: a 5-step process

Meeting digital transformation challenges: our expertise

2020 Delivery has proven expertise in leading digital strategies and supporting organisations and systems in digital transformation. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about how our Digital and Innovation practice can support public services.

Authors: Audrey Lambert, Jonathan Chappell and Antonio Weiss