Zahid reflects on some of the key elements of the recently published digital health and care strategy and how they can be made a reality.
Scotland’s highly ambitious Digital Health and Care Strategy was launched last week. It rightly flags that the issue is not about whether digital has a role in addressing the challenges we face in health and care but that it must be ‘central, integral and underpin the necessary transformational change in services in order to improve outcomes for citizens’.
It’s a short, accessible and important document. I encourage you to read, share it and moreover, reflect on what it means to you, your role, your organisation and the people you support. Over the coming months, the implementation of the strategy will start to take shape. Your collaboration will be vital to realising its ambitions and in fostering its partnership approach which includes the ‘third and independent care sectors and the wider public’.
The strategy has six interconnected domains with commitments that will also support consistency:
- National Direction and Leadership
- Information Governance, Assurance and Cyber Security (which includes delivering a consistent national approach for information assurance, taking account of different needs of users and citizens and providing clarity on information sharing)
- Service Transformation (with co-design embedded within this)
- Workforce Capability (including digital and data skills)
- A National Digital Platform (that will enable the appropriate creation and use of information at point of care and facilitate the ‘interoperability’ of existing and new health and care technologies – so systems, devices and applications work together and can share/use data, to help improve services, support research and innovation)
- Transition Process – to manage the shift from current to future systems in a pragmatic way
The opportunities presented by digital to truly empower people and put them in control of their own health and wellbeing are immense. And it’s heartening to see the strategy express how genuine co-design will be fundamental to achieving this potential, ‘If we are to truly transform how we deliver health and care, our citizens and front-line staff need to be involved from the very beginning for any service redesign’. This makes sense as the experience of using technology has shown ‘those that have been designed with users are more likely to be successfully adopted’.
The ALLIANCE is cited as a ‘key national delivery partner’ in the strategy. We have a digital health and care programme funded by the Scottish Government to facilitate third sector and citizen participation as well as to help drive innovation. As part of this, we are initiating and will be working collaboratively on further events for the third sector and people to support their awareness of and contributions to the delivery of the strategy – please watch out for further details on these.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, want to find out more about our digital health and care work and express an interest in our forthcoming events, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or follow/DM us on twitter @DHCScot.