Matthew Hancock sets out his vision for a new tech-driven NHS

Andy Kinnear, Director of Digital Transformation summarises his vision for the future and offers his reaction.

Matthew Hancock, the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care brings a background in the technology business. Using his understanding and experience he acknowledges how technology is changing many aspects of our lives and is passionate in sharing the role it has to play in the future of the health and social care system.

In his recent speech at Expo, he recognised that the NHS has the biggest opportunity for saving lives through technology, yet is also frustrated by clunky systems and a lack of interoperability which may result in dangerous and wasteful practices. The gap between where we are and where we need to be is widening and his big message is that he “wants every Trust Board and STP leadership team to drive this, and ensure that transformation happens.”

The secretary went on to summarise his plan for the future in six core areas:

  • Talk to each other
    A world in which we ask an ill patient many times over for their name and address is a problem. A world in which a hospital can’t pull up a patient’s GP record is downright dangerous. So our systems need to be able to talk to each other.
  • Buy the right stuff
    Mandated standards are just the start. Too often people with too little technical understanding are buying IT from suppliers who want to capture the buyer so they can’t ever go elsewhere
  • HealthTech and the cutting edge
    Britain has some of world’s best HealthTech companies leading by example. We must make use of the best technology available to support some of our most basic needs - and not reinvent the wheel for the NHS.
  • Back the NHS to succeed
    The digital revolution in healthcare cannot rely solely on the innovations of industry. There is a huge role for the NHS to play in developing solutions and co-creating them with industry, recognising the value that trusts bring to the table
  • A new skillset
    We need the right skills and tools. We will work to build technical skills in the whole health and care system to help them manage their tech, meet their user needs, articulate those needs better, guide innovators through the rabbit warren and buy the best tech.
  • Culture change
    The truth is, it is not the technology that is holding us back. Just being able to make the best use of technology that has already been invented would transform health and care in this country. In all my experience of digital transformation it’s no different. Only 10% of the challenge is the tech. 90% of the challenge is the culture.

SCW’s Digital Transformation team, led by Andy Kinnear, Director of Digital Transformation reacts to Matthews’ speech commenting:

“In my 28 years in digital health and care I have never ever heard a Secretary of State speak about the opportunity for technology to transform health care with such passion, energy, commitment and unbridled enthusiasm.

It was a seminal moment on our digital journey and has the power to further empower those of us working in this space to deliver even greater change.

SCW can boast a proud track record of digital transformation. In the shared care record space alone we are driving forward seven different programmes across our geography and we estimate around 90,000 patients benefit every month from a care professional being able to see a deeper a richer patient record than ever before.

This is the tip of the iceberg and as we begin to introduce digital services direct to our consumers, the public and patients we serve, then the pace will only quicken. The NHS App will launch in the New Year and signal a gear change in the digital journey. The SCW Digital Transformation team are well placed to be a major player in delivering this future.”

We look forward to sharing future developments and updates in the space of digital transformation. To read some examples of the work already underway visit the Digital Transformation case study page.

Director of Digital Transformation (Tweet @Andy_Kinnear)