The future of the NHS and social care depends on getting technology right.’

This sentence opens the NHSX tech plan vision which was launched this week. Simple enough on face value but it carries many layers of intricacies which I will come back to.

I have digested many plans and initiatives over the years but what’s strikingly different about this one is that it is based on common sense and it pinpoints some of the very real challenges that are faced by frontline staff on a day to day basis in their use of technology.

Now, we know that digital can make a massive difference to how we maintain and develop the health and well being of our population, as well as how we deliver care when we need it. We also know that there is a big role for technology to play in joining up the health and  social care systems to see real transformation, but we’re seeing very limited success at a local level.

Why is this? There are two conflicting priorities. First is that each individual organisation is looking at how they can use technology to meet their own strategic aims and objectives, whilst also being driven at a national level, to support the transformation of the whole system, and the joining up of health and social care.

Now these two things run in parallel but are largely delivered in isolation and what that means is that on the frontline there’s a complex technology environment emerging and it’s having limited success in achieving that vision.

Achieving joined up health and care is dependent on organisations reaching a level of digital maturity so they can deliver care more effectively and interoperate. The technology is already capable, if the appropriate technology is procured and implemented well.

Which brings me back to ‘getting technology right.’ Our experience has taught us that we can achieve the mission ahead of us by ensuring that:

  • There is a clear, well understood and deliverable strategy aligned to national objectives that underpins the delivery of organisational and wider system aims.
  • Investment decisions for new technology which support the delivery of this strategy are not made in isolation, and prepare your organisation to operate within an integrated health and social care system.
  • All programmes are set up for success by establishing effective leadership and governance, and building the right delivery team with the right skills.
  • Implementations are delivered with a people centered approach to increase the rate of acceptance and the delivery of benefits.

These are just some of things I believe are of vital importance as we move forward.

And you can have your say. NHSX are inviting us to #jointheconversation and have launched a new website to collaborate with you on the Tech Plan.

Through this platform, you can register to participate and share your views.

Let’s, together, get technology right.