Head of Health and Care of Socitm Advisory Russ Charlesworth, talks to us about his venture into digital healthcare and his perspective on the sector.
HETT: Thank you for agreeing to an interview with us, Russ. Firstly, we would love to know a little more about your journey into digital healthcare. What was your route into the industry?
Russ Charlesworth: "My career started in GE in technology research & development followed by spells in Management Consultancies in the UK, South Africa and the USA. The latter included time in Healthcare in Insurance-model Accountable Care Organisations (ACO’s) which are the forerunners of the ICSs we’re adopting in England.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve been fortunate to work across most layers of health and social care. I’ve had to tackle a variety of technology and change challenges in primary care, mental health, social care, data integration and service redesign. I wouldn’t want to be in any other industry.”
HETT: Wow, such an inspiring journey so far! When embarking on a health innovation project specifically for the care sector, how would you go about setting the strategic direction and decision support?
Russ Charlesworth: "Innovation projects should, by definition, attempt to challenge the status quo. However, their guiding principles should be no different to any other technology change initiative i.e.
- Focus on the customer’s needs
- Translate the needs to target outcomes and associated benefits
- Develop a service operating model that maps to and can deliver the outcomes
- Define and select technology solutions that support and sustain the operating model
- Engage and communicate with all stakeholders throughout the innovation cycle”
HETT: Great principles to think about and embed in such matters. When it comes to innovation and new technologies, what are your top tips on selecting the right solutions to meet financial and business requirements?
Russ Charlesworth: “Understand the relevant technology landscape well. In doing the research, spread your effort across customers in similar situations who have already made solution selection decisions and understand any key lessons learnt.
Engage with vendors by outlining in detail what you’re trying to achieve including the minimum standards you expect them to comply with then give them the space to solutionise using flexible procurement approaches e.g. Invitation to Negotiate (ITN).”
HETT: When it comes to share cared records, are there emerging standards between health and social care that we should be aware of?
Russ Charlesworth: “The relevant standards remain PRSB, SNO-MED and FHIR”
HETT: From your perspective, what would you say is the key to delivering better patient care?
Russ Charlesworth: “I would say three key things:
- Continued investment and development in genome technology to reduce the growing burden on treating diseases and their associated long-term conditions;
- More effective education techniques to convince the public about lifestyle practices and self-responsibility that will reduce the burden on health & care as people live-longer
- Smarter digital service design to reduce data replication, workforce overlap, process hand-offs that in turn will provide better visibility of what’s going for patients and practitioners
HETT: Very specific and detailed, definitely worth implementing in projects within healthcare. Speaking of which, the NHSX Project – could you share a summary of the project, the desired outcomes and objectives that will be put in place of the back of this project?
Russ Charlesworth: “The publication of NHSX’s ‘what good looks like (WGLL)’ briefing last August was a positive step for the sector. This asset highlighted 7 success measures that exemplified forward-looking and effective health systems.
Socitm Advisory spoke with NHSX and suggested their WGLL principles for health could, with some sector engagement and potential extension, be adopted by Social Care and eventually by organisations operating across wider Place-based settings e.g. Education, Bluelight, 3rd sector, Housing, etc.”
HETT: Exciting times ahead! We look forward to your inspirational panel discussion at our upcoming digital health leadership conference, the Leading Healthcare Innovation Summit (9 February 2022, QEII Centre, London).
To aspiring digital healthcare professionals like yourself, what would you advise them when approaching the digital healthcare industry?
Russ Charlesworth: “Go for it! Integrated Care is one of the most exciting, fast-moving and challenging environments you could imagine. If that doesn’t sound appealing, I suggest you opt for paper merchandising or similar.”
HETT: Last but certainly not least, what does the future of Digital Healthcare look like to you?
Russ Charlesworth: “If you look at where the UK is in relation to countries with a more mature digital experience e.g. Estonia and the U.S, then we have to be optimistic about what we have still to achieve.
We have made huge strides, but we cannot ease off on digital healthcare investment. Continued equal access to high, quality health & care must remain one the key pillars of UK society.”
HETT: Thank you for your time today, Russ. It’s been a pleasure catching up with you and learning more about your journey and viewpoint on patient care. We look forward to seeing you at the Leading Healthcare Innovation Summit!
Supporting future-focused thought leadership on healthcare innovation
In the dawn of a new era for digital and health tech transformation, we are thrilled to invite you to the HETT Leading Healthcare Innovation Summit (QEII Centre London, 9th February 2022) an event designed to support future-focused thought leadership on healthcare innovation.
The CPD-certified conference will bring together a senior audience from across the NHS and the wider digital healthcare landscape to address some of the sector’s biggest challenges and concerns.
Organisations such as NHS Digital, NHSX, The AHSN Network and The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) support the conference and its insightful agenda which will cover three key topics including Remote Care, Integrated Care Systems and Patient-Centred Design. We will deep dive into topics such as the mental health of clinicians and patients, clinical pathways, diversity and inclusion in data and products, service and user inclusive design, setting up and implementing remote patient monitoring, virtual consultations, ICS leadership development and population health management.