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A digital future for the NHS

Digital transformation has been on the agenda of NHS organisations for years. Now is a critical time to plan for and implement technologies that will support better commercial and clinical decisions.

Amongst government senior decision makers in the NHS, there’s widespread recognition that the role of digital technology is shifting – from driving marginal efficiency to being a catalyst of innovation.

With a significant increase in the demand to provide improved services, the next few years are critical in NHS organisations embracing technology to enable digital transformation.

Over the past few years, the NHS has invested heavily in technology. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has seen an acceleration in technology adoption which has enabled frontline and support services to continue delivering vital patient care.

We see this trend continuing as the NHS grapples with unprecedented waiting times in delivering key services to its patients. We also believe technology will be the driving force in supporting the NHS Long Term Plan.

So, what does the future hold for digital transformation?

And what should NHS leaders consider when planning for its development and implementation?

In 2022 and beyond, digital transformation will dominate NHS strategies. CEOs will look to their CIOs and technology leaders to guide them through a series of significant changes.

Tech spending will continue to rise. Emerging technologies are starting to yield real value in delivering point of care improvements, while data is becoming more valuable in enabling better decision making both locally and nationally.

Implementing technology that can understand and enable data sharing across multiple organisations is key. This will enable NHS organisations to track, measure and respond to key shifts in delivering patient care.

Automation and AI are already enhancing decision making within the NHS to provide greater levels of efficiency and insight. NHS organisations need to utilise key technologies and understand how data can drive commercial value, as well as support critical frontline care.

To succeed with the NHS Long Term Plan, it is critical that digital leaders prioritise optimising the patient experience and enhance patient outcomes across multiple channels, connecting crucial dots between people, information and systems.

Technology is central to the shift to digital. However, it’s not just about technology.

Senior NHS leaders will need to nurture the right culture and adoption of new technologies. This is key to helping NHS organisations transform into a functional digital care provider.

Organisational challenges

NHS organisations that are embracing digital transformation will see internal departments competing to own digital. This comes with its own challenges.

The most significant barrier to digital transformation is having the resource to implement and manage new technologies. Having access to the right technologies and support services will help organisations achieve a successful, sustainable digital transformation strategy that creates maximum impact.

Additionally, NHS leaders state that a skills shortage is holding them back from driving real digital change. They also state that having third-party partners to help deliver projects is crucial to the rapid deployment of new technologies. However, there is a strong desire for NHS organisations to drive their IT functions to develop or acquire new skills and to help bridge the skills gap evident within the NHS.

With the creation of the new ICSs in the UK, it’s crucial that organisations have the capabilities and expertise to solve the problem of acquiring the talent needed to use emerging technology to its full potential.

However, delivering against the NHS Long Term Plan requires strong leadership and involves collaboration. To digitally transform more easily, organisations must identify and align their aims, goals and responsibilities from the start. This begins at the top of the organisation.

Join us for our two-part webinar series

Every NHS organisation is slightly different as they look to implement their digital strategy.

Proact Healthcare Solutions is hosting a two-part webinar series about how you can prepare to become ICS ready. The first, strategic session providing an overview of the challenges and solutions faced when becoming ICS ready and what other trusts are doing to prepare, is now available on demand. Our technical deep-dive will be hosted on 11 May, where we’ll delve into the technologies that power this change.

Watch part one

Watch part two

Darius Virabi, Senior Account Manager & Healthcare Lead at Proact

Darius Virabi

Senior Account Manager & Healthcare Lead