At the HSJ Digital Summit earlier today, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, announced his top four priorities for the digital transformation of health and care, telling listeners that the Government would publish the UK's first ever comprehensive digital health plan in Spring.
It will be crucial that the Government seeks to align this digital health plan with the chapter on Digital and Data' in the recently published white paper: Joining up care for people, places and populations', as well as with the Data saves lives' strategy, National Strategy for AI in Health and Social Care, and the People at the heart of care' white paper.
Having held a strategic partnership with NHS Digital since 2017, techUK looks forward to working with health and care organisations and the Government to ensure the views of the UK's technology industry are incorporated into this plan.
If you would like to contribute to techUK's response to the Joining up care for people, places and populations' white paper, you can sign up for our workshop taking place next Friday.
In addition to this key announcement, the Health Secretary outlined the following four missions as top priorities in digital health:
- Making sure the key structures are in place to support ambitions for digital transformation
- Sajid Javid highlighted that while the role of digital used to be siloed, it is clear that digital transformation can no longer be delegated to an individual team, but that it must be led from the front and touch every single part of an organisation.
- He outlined that digital transformation is existential, and insisted that this was keenly understood by both Richard Meddings, Chair of NHS England, and Amanda Pritchard, CEO of NHS England.
- Sajid flagged that the decision towards the end of 2021 to incorporate both the delivery and the strategy arms of the NHS's digital functions into NHS England following the Laura Wade-Gery review was illustrative of the centrality of digital transformation.
- Levelling up digital provision across health and care
- The Secretary of State began by highlighting that 1 in 5 NHS trusts are still without an Electronic Patient Record, stating that the new goal is an ambitious 90% coverage by December 2023.
- A similar ambition was set out for social care, with the Government aiming for all social care providers to have a digital record by March 2024.
- Pursuing personalisation
- Sajid Javid stated that the NHS App would remain the front door for interacting with NHS and outlined a target for 75% of all adults in England to be using it.
- Javid stated that a clear pathway for promising products was being developed, and that there was a significant focus on driving interoperability of systems.
- In addition, innovations that can provide more dignified care for people in their own homes, helping to tackle the issues of an ageing population, would be prioritised.
- Making big break-through bets on emerging tech and data
- Sajid stated that he wants to deal with the stark diversity gap in clinical trials, and deal with injustices in the way devices and medicines currently work for different ethnic groups. Dame Margaret Whitehead will lead a review into this.
- Sajid Javid referenced the upcoming publication of the Data saves lives' strategy, stating that the NHS's rich data is making the whole world healthier, touting the long-awaited Goldacre Review.
techUK welcomes the plans set out by the Secretary of State today, and looks forward to working closely with the Government, the NHS England Transformation Directorate and health and care organisations across the country to make them a reality. The technology industry will play a key role in delivering the vision outlined above, and our members stand ready to work together with the public sector to ensure that we leverage the transformative power of technology to create a modern health and care system.