NHS technology has to stop being ‘dreamed up by the centre’

The current pace and momentum in health IT in the UK “cannot be stalled”, says NHS Digital – but a lot of work still needs to be done

Posted 8 May 2017 by Gary Flood

NHS Digital is working hard to help frontline medics get better when it comes to exploiting the power of technology.

That was the claim from someone who should know – its Director of Digital Transformation Beverly Bryant, who made the promise in her keynote speech at UK e-Health Week last week.

“We’re going to deliver information technology and data, partner locally, move out of our ivory tower, make NHS Digital much more responsive and relevant to services, helping local organisations to transform models of care and use information and technology,” she told delegates.

“This is not just about the centre dreaming up technological solutions,” she insisted.

Bryant also noted that her organisation also has to pick up on its assigned responsibility of deliver the Department of Health’s paperless NHS vision.

“We’ve been given responsibility to deliver paperless 2020, so we have to become a modern IT organisation that demonstrates pace and agility.

“We’re starting to move, we’re starting to hear positive feedback of how we’re adapting and moving towards that vision,” she added.

To get there, all NHS technology NHS Digital helps to deliver, commission or build has to be “useful, useable and used” by the wider health service.

That will be accompanied by a major push over the next few months to help standardise information that is shared by doctors, nurses and other NHS team members in order to reduce data collection burdens.

Key to that will be the SNOMED standard for medical data classification, Bryant says.

A data gathering exercise to help achieve that will be organised across the wider sector by NHS Digital in collaboration with techUK and a research company to pull together knowledge, with a specific focus on interoperability.

Bryant concluded her speech by claiming that the current pace and momentum in health IT in the UK “cannot be stalled”.