This post was originally commissioned for an article by Highland Marketing.
I think 2019 will be remembered for three things. The first is the start of real consumerisation in the health and care space. We are going to see the launch of the NHS app, a big expansion of the NHS apps library, and an explosion of personal health record platforms of one form or another. This agenda has been bubbling under for a while, but this year I think that it will surface and be really exciting.
The second thing is a huge change in digital leadership. I think we will see boards start to take their responsibilities seriously and give a lot more time to the digital agenda. That’s because [health and social care secretary] Matt Hancock has signalled that we need the system to engage, but also because we are seeing a lot more interest in putting digital into the NHS operational model than we have done in the past.
Again, it is something we have been talking about for a while: but I think we will go from rhetoric to action this year. The other side of that is that we will continue to see investment in the calibre of digital leaders in the system. With the growth of FEDIP [The Federation for Informatics Professionals, part of the BCS], the success of the Faculty of Clinical Informatics, and the first cohort coming out of the NHS Digital Academy, there are influencers ready to change things.
It we want to increase professionalism in the IT space, I think we need to target leaders, because they bring their teams with them. I think we will see that in 2019. I think we are on the road to professional accreditation and that’s a good thing. I often say I want the people who do my job to be properly trained and accredited, instead of falling into it by chance.The third thing is interoperability. It feels like 2018 was foundational, with the consolidation of the Professional Record Standards Body and INTEROPen, and the establishment of the local health and care record exemplar programme. So, I think that in 2019 we will see active spending on building interoperable health and care and the creation of regional platforms to support data flows. If that happens, and the NHS sorts out its regional and transformation structures, I think we will be in for a bright future.