The challenge

Technology has transformed the way healthcare is delivered worldwide, and has played a fundamental role in extending life and improving wellbeing in the UK

NHS Trusts spend hundreds of millions a year on IT, and the government has pledged to protect IT spend to enable hospitals to sustain and improve quality whilst addressing current and projected demand. However, technology and technology consultancy in the NHS has not been without its challenges. Managing increasingly complex demand with limited resources requires new, fully technologically-enabled ways of working that transform traditional “producer” and “consumer” relationships in healthcare.

To succeed means finding new ways of engaging frontline staff and those they serve in using technology, differently and better.

The approach

Our brief was to work with those on the frontline to produce a digital strategy fit for a 21st century hospital: a strategy that would be owned by frontline staff, and would have impact far beyond the hospital walls. Working with a leading NHS Foundation Trust, we brought together a team with a combination of skills, from the analytical and technical, through to system and financial leadership, and expertise in engagement and co-design with frontline staff, patients and communities.

We worked together to produce a strategy and a clear, agreed action plan for the next 3 years – one that genuinely put “Patients First”.

The new Strategy encompassed 4 strategic themes, reflecting the move from seeing IT as a function with the Trust to an enabler of health and wellbeing across the local area as a whole:

  • Theme 1: Enhancing our systems to improve safety, eliminate waste, and ensure that every patient gets a great service, each and every time.
  • Theme 2: Supporting our staff with infrastructure and services that are reliable, accessible, and flexible to their needs; and with the learning and assistance to get the most out of our digital investments.
  • Theme 3: Integrating with our partners including GPs, community, mental health and social services to establish a “digital health and social care community” which communicates and collaborates to improve all we do.
  • Theme 4: Working with our patients to enable them to be fully involved at each stage of the management and delivery of their care.

It is, in the words of the Trust, “a living, breathing strategy that is truly delivering transformational change across our hospitals”:  driving investment in technology that ensures the highest quality and efficiency of patient care, for all of those who depend on NHS support for their health and wellbeing.