Blog by Suzannah Kinsella, Corsham Institute Associate

The Corsham Institute Digital Health and Care Thought Leadership Event brought together digital leaders and stakeholders from across the Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).  Organisations included local authorities, hospital trusts, mental health trusts, CCGs and other health providers, as well as NHS England and NHS Digital.

The event’s objective was to explore ‘how can we collectively exploit technology and digital ways of working to transform the way in which we deliver health and care across our STP footprint?’

An urgent priority for the BSW STP is to combine their three Local Digital Roadmaps (LDR), identifying what is best done at a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) level versus an STP level. To do this, participants used the day to discuss four themes, identified as priorities by the digital leaders in BSW:  integration and interoperability; mobile working and infrastructure; population health and data analytics; citizen engagement and consent.

Throughout the event, subject matter experts from the fields of cyber security, citizen engagement and health data management gave 20 minute, TedX style talks to stimulate thinking on how these priorities could be realised.

The day was designed to deliver a set of recommendations to the STP Leadership Group that the digital leaders could feel empowered to focus on and deliver. These are some of the recommendations taken forward:

  • Greater integration and interoperability will lead, among other things, to the long desired single care record across health and social care. To help achieve this, participants wanted to ensure that a single, unified STP Information Governance strategy and sharing policy is developed.

  • Effective mobile working and infrastructure means that health practitioners have fast access to the information they need, where they need it, be it on the ward, in the community or elsewhere. Working together to secure funding for proof of concepts will help to achieve small scale quick wins that could help STP organisations to work together.

  • Population health and data analytics have the power to revolutionise how a population’s health needs and effective care are identified. Diabetes was proposed as a common priority for the BSW STP that could jump start joined up working.

  • Involving citizens in how digital tools are introduced and used will help ensure digitisation has popular support and understanding. Participants wanted to use the disparity between public expectation and reality to generate an appetite for change, such as surprise that “the hospital can’t see my GP data?!”

To support these recommendations, participants highlighted several enabling factors. The two most often raised included: greater clinician involvement to guide on the information their clinical colleagues want. The other was how to work with traditional funding methods, (notably capital vs operational expenditure), in a world where we are shifting from buying ‘stuff’ such as servers to buying services, such as cloud subscriptions.

The STP leadership group came together earlier this month (July 2017) and endorsed many of the recommendations mentioned here and in the main report, and these will be progressed through the STP’s digital workstreams in the coming months.

The citizen is at the centre of all of Ci’s work, and digital technologies and the use of data will radically shape the future of health care. Ci was delighted to play its part in enabling these vital discussions to ensure that trust, security and above all the patient are at the heart of the planned transformations.