Digital transformation is absolutely at the heart of what we do. From supporting remote monitoring to improving the flow of information, digital tools have the power to transform the way health and care are delivered. Digital technologies are integral to many of the changes envisaged in the NHS long-term plan. Making a reality of these ambitions will require a stronger emphasis on engaging and upskilling the people expected to use digital technologies at all levels in the NHS, particularly clinicians.

The response to the Covid pandemic has seen an unprecedented rise in both the appetite for and adoption of digital health technologies that support new ways of delivering healthcare services, especially where physical contact is not possible or where there is a priority need to deliver care outside of hospital, including in people’s homes. The approach to using digital tools and services is undergoing a seismic shift across all our systems. Although many of the technologies adopted during the first phase of the pandemic were already established in some geographies, in many cases they were not widely implemented and their impact on systems, services, workforce and citizens is only just emerging.

During the past year and throughout the pandemic we have been the link between the NHS regional team and representatives in our local Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS). We are now playing a central role, along with our colleagues in Wessex and South West AHSNs in the NHSX South West Scaling Up Remote Monitoring Programme. This has three distinct themes:

These initiatives, in common with all our work on digital transformation centres on ensuring appropriate digital solutions are implemented effectively. The success of any digital initiative will rely on; how they are developed into patient pathways and processes, identifying appropriate training and behaviour change required by users, and ensuring resources – human and financial – are secured to ensure the transformation can progress timely. All of these elements are critical and some of the ongoing work we are doing support this includes:

  • Supporting our local ICS’ by sharing knowledge, contacts and information on products – plus links to others who are facing similar challenges
  • Coordinating activities across systems and involving key reps from each ICS where appropriate – examples in a minute
  • Continually looking for new innovations – gadgets, apps and service upgrades – that might be of interest to our member organisations
  • In some instances we provide direct project/programme management support – Digital Primary Care, Digital Care homes
  • Coordinating a regional network of CIO’s and CCIO’s to help educate and communication across systems.

To discover more of the Digital transformation programme has acheived,  take a look at our Impact Review for 2020-21

If you would like to find out more about the NHSX Innovation Collaborative, in which AHSNs have played a leading role in supporting the adoption and spread of remote monitoring capabilities across member systems and the sharing of learning to support then take a look at this guide to digital knowledge resources.