The Leading Healthcare Innovation Summit took place at the end of May and brought together hundreds of leaders from across the health and social care ecosystem to address the most pressing issues facing the sector.  

The final keynote session of the day focused on ‘A Whole-system Approach to Digital Excellence in the NHS’ and was joined by: 

  • Sonia Patel, System CIO, NHS England 
  • Lord James O’Shaugnessy, Board Member, Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), Former Life Sciences and Innovation Minister 

Read an overview of the key points from the discussion or listen to the session in full below: 

Key takeaways from the discussion  

What does best practice look like? 

Sonia Patel touched on how nationally, the NHS have done a lot of work to establish best practice by running a digital maturity analysis across the country. They have seen some real gems of activity happening, from simple IT innovations to greater progressions on maturing population health systems and how that is helping to support care co-ordination.  

There’s a sprinkle of best practice across the country but the next job is to work on how to spread that best practice in scale.  

“Behind every technology transformation, there’s a people transformation.” Sonia Patel, System CIO, NHS England 

How can you overcome the barrier of people? 

In some cases, people can be a barrier to digital transformation, with some of the workforce not wanting to adopt certain technologies. Sonia explained that to overcome this, it’s key to build a specialist digital workforce which will help to influence the wider workforce in the uptake of technology and help to build confidence.  

There is currently a shortage of this type of talent, however NHS England are due to publish a national digital workforce plan that sets out how they plan to grow and retain future digital talent.  

What can be done to encourage the uptake of digital therapeutics and other software tools? 

Sonia discussed how it's crucial to work with the culture of an organisation because in some places, the NHS see pockets that are open to experimentation which will seed new innovation, whereas others will be slower to uptake these tools. It also depends on the pressure the workforce is under, and whether these tools are going to add value.  

On a national level, NHS England are working to create a culture that supports innovation through doing things such as the AI Awards and the small business investment programmes. 

Update on the NHS app 

Under Helen Clifton’s leadership there are some exciting plans and stats around the NHS app: 

  • 32 million sign-ups for the NHS app - more than half the number of citizens in the country. 
  • More than 28 million have fully verified their identity - helping to unlock the gateway to access care. 
  • More than 500,000 repeat prescription every week through the app - 42 million repeat prescriptions since launch. 
  • At least 25% of core hospitals are linking up to the NHS app allowing patients to access hospital appointments. 
  • Day by day the NHS are working on increasing the activity to get universal coverage for patients to access critical information about their care, data about diagnosis and ultimately book appointments.  

Join the conversation by registering for HETT North, 28th February 

Be part of the next crucial discussion around driving digital transformation across the health and social care sector by registering for this year’s HETT North, 28th February 2024, Manchester Central Convention Complex. HETT North is free to attend for the NHS, charities and wider public sector and will give you access to:  

  • 40+ hours of CPD-certified content across 5 streams 
  • 100+ expert speakers 
  • 100+ innovative suppliers 
  • 1-2-1 networking opportunities with 1,400+ digital health peers 

Register for HETT North

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