The Digital Future of UK’s Health Care

NHS and health IT leaders in the UK gathered for the second Kings Fund roundtable in February to discuss the future of technology in the UK health care. One big takeaway was that digital literacy in the medical workforce needs to be improved.

It was before the UK e-health week in February 2017 that leaders from the IT health community and the National Health Service, NHS, came together to talk about impacts to improve the NHS workforce’s digital literacy. Currently, the gap between medical staff’s health skills and IT skills is interfering with the process of introducing new services.

One central discussion was how to engage the medical staff and to have more clinical staff who could drive technological change and develop a deeper understanding of digital data. Dr Harpreet Sood, associate CCIO at NHS England have started and is driving an initiative called the Digital Academy. Dr Sood described their work to educate clinical professionals and impact the future digital literacy on an executive level.

Rachael Naemon, Advisory Board Member at DigitalHealth, London, said she thinks the first step to digitalising NHS is improving processes for the whole workforce, and not just for “super users”. It’s important to “ensure that knowledge works for everybody in the system” and that “everybody in the NHS in whatever role should be embracing technology”.  However, Neuman added that it’s also important that individuals at an executive level lead the way for a true cultural change to be possible.

Another important takeaway from the meeting was that there needs to be a clearer and more consistent vision on how to spend transformational funding. David Maguire of The King’s Fund, said that the CEO needs to “buy into digital” so that positive changes and progression can be made.

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