Here, we analyse the role of the NHSX in driving digital transformation when it comes to health and social care
Leading the largest digital health and social care transformation programme in the world, NHSX, is bringing together teams from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement into one collective unit to drive digital transformation and lead policy, implementation, and change. The diverse teams who have joined the programme include artificial intelligence, cyber security, data transformation and policy, digitising providers – including global digital exemplars, our most digitally advanced trusts, and empowering the person – our citizen-facing digital portfolio, including the NHS App, among numerous others.
Together, each offers a range of skills and expertise, including clinicians, technologists, policy experts, developers, data scientists and project managers which report directly to the Secretary of State and the Chief Executive of NHS England and NHS Improvement. NHSX is funded through existing budgets, and with an investment of more than £1 billion pounds a year nationally and a significant additional spend locally and has been created to give staff and citizens the digital transformation in healthcare technology they need.
The overall goal of the NHSX is to create the most advanced health and care service in the world to diagnose diseases earlier, free up staff time and empower patients to take greater control of their own healthcare. In order to achieve this, one of their main priorities of 2020 is the digital transformation in NHS health and social care. “We will speed up the digital transformation of the NHS and social care. We have set ourselves five missions, which are focused on how we can make things better for patients and staff.” (1)
The five missions of NHSX:
• Reducing the burden on our workforce, so they can focus on delivering care.
• Giving people the tools to access information and services directly, so they can best take charge of their own health and care.
• Ensuring information about people’s health and care can be safely accessed, wherever it is needed.
• Aiding the improvement of safety across health and care systems.
• Improving health and care productivity with digital transformation in healthcare.
Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive of NHS Digital, states: “It will require sophisticated strategic planning, strong leadership and very tight partnership between organisations across the system. This new joint venture between the organisations who currently define digital strategy and commission digital services will create cohesion in these activities by concentrating work and capabilities in one unit.” (2)
What about AI and digital transformation in healthcare?
One recent example of the NHSX work is their current conversations surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI), which holds enormous potential for the NHS. In February 2020, Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX, convened a roundtable of CEOs and heads of all the 12 regulators to talk AI. He stated, “It can reduce the burden on the system by taking on the tasks that can be converted into an algorithm. Many of these are in areas of greatest pressure, like radiography and pathology. It could improve patient outcomes, and increase productivity across the system, freeing up clinicians’ time so they can focus on the parts of the job where they add the most value.” (3) This feeds into the wider aims and long-term plan of the NHSX, as it will support and give the NHS the benefits of this new technology safely, reducing the burden on its staff and improving outcomes for patients.
“NHSX will combine some of the best minds from among the NHS, leading innovators, and government into one unit to set national policy, remove red tape and create a culture of innovation to allow the best innovations to flourish,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. “This is just the beginning of the tech revolution, building on our Long-Term Plan to create a predictive, preventative and unrivalled NHS.” (4)
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