The fourth annual techUK Health and Social Care Industry Dinner took place recently in London. The packed event was attended by techUK members and friends, a range of senior NHS Digital and NHS England colleagues, and other NHS stakeholders. There were key speeches from Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health, Prof. Rachel Dunscombe, Director of Digital for Salford Royal Group, CEO of the NHS Digital Academy, SRO for Greater Manchester Datawell, and Chair of the HIMSS UK Advisory Board, and Matthew Swindells, National Director: Operations and Information at NHS England.
Julian David, techUK CEO opened the formal proceedings. He outlined the achievements of the techUK Health and Social Care Programme and introduced the theme of the evening: how technology can help to support the NHS in addressing the challenges it faces, particularly during the winter months.
Lord O’Shaughnessy said that the NHS is the most prepared it has ever been for winter but that there are still many opportunities for digital approaches to increase efficiency and effectiveness. He emphasised that data is our greatest asset and interoperability is achievable but the focus need to be on the largest barriers which are social and emotional. There is a clear need to reassure patients around the security of their data. The benefits of data for patients, the NHS and the research community can only be realised by earning patient and citizen trust.
Rachel Dunscombe spoke about the digital successes at Salford Royal and the focus on digitising their workforce and citizens. She said that the NHS Digital Academy is a wonderful partnership opportunity that welcomes industry input from case studies to mentors and more.
Matthew Swindells spoke about the potential for technology to transform the NHS. We need to move away from seeing IT in boxes, it must be seen as the tool by which we solve the problems on the NHS. He also spoke about finding a balance between interventions that are better tackled at a local level, and those that are better addressed nationally. We need to look at standardising processes where it is clear that they work and look to replicate evidence-based best practice while tailoring it to meet the needs of particular populations.