NHS Senior Leadership Onboarding and Support

Digital Technology

healthcare technology illustration

Digital technology is a new and significant element of any business and it is fundamentally disrupting business models across all industries. The capacity of this area to support transformational change is enormous. As an individual leader and as boards, understanding and leading organisations that maximise benefits and minimise risks associated with the new digital world is essential.

Evidence from our own and other industries indicates that good ‘digital’ leadership is no different from good leadership. However, there are leadership capabilities that are increasingly more specific in this rapidly changing world.

Ask yourself and your key colleagues:

  • is our organisation supported by technology that is scalable, interoperable, flexible, fixable, resilient and fit-for-purpose and does the Board understand how to assure themselves of this?
  • are the processes that your organisation uses to underpin its functions fast, integrated, light and do they meet users’ needs (both staff and service users)?

Below are some suggested resources you may find helpful:

Development Programme: Digital Boards NHS Providers programme to support boards in leading the digital transformation agenda, delivered in partnership with Public Digital and supported by Health Education England. The programme is free.

Guides: A New Era of Digital Leadership The first in a series of guides from NHS Providers which support the Digital Boards programme.

Blog: What a digital organisation looks like – outlines ‘Digital’ being what you are, not what you do. It includes tips around environment, users, workforce, leadership and then tech, data and process.

Policy: Five Year Forward View and a next steps document identify broad challenges and opportunities around adapting to take advantage of the opportunities that science and technology offer.

Report: The hidden obstacles to government digital transformation – This report examines how business cases are used within government departments’ transformation teams. It suggests ways in which planning, implementation and leadership can be improved, leading to better outcomes for digital transformation projects.

Report and case studies: New care models: harnessing technology  – Case studies identifying how technology can transform models of care.

Resources: Academic Health Science Network Atlas – online resource that share examples of how to spread high impact, tech-based innovation across the health and care system.

Briefing: What can the NHS learn from learning health systems? Nuffield Trust. This briefing identifies opportunities for local organisations and systems to make better use of health data, and recommends ways that national policy could promote the collaboration and greater use of analytics which underpin the ‘learning health system’ concept.

Tool: Building analytical capability: developing new approaches to assessing analytical maturity at an organisational level Health Foundation – this tool assess capability at both Board and service / team level.

Framework: Digital Literacy Framework, Health Education England – the document provides a clear definition and framework for the development of digital capabilities in all staff and recently reviewed Digital Literacy e-learning products. Appendix B of this document identifies 136 you may wish to use.

Networks: Faculty of Clinical Informatics  – for digital experts to maintain and improve their knowledge base.

Federation of Informatics Professionals for non-clinical informaticians.

NHS Digital Academy has been set up to ensure Chief Information Officers and Chief Clinical Information Officers are as good as they can be.

Report: Delivering digital skills -A guide to preparing the workforce for an inclusive digital economy – detailing both barriers and practical examples.

Article: Understanding analytical capability in health care Do we have more data than insight? The Health Foundation.

Review: Caldicott Review Data Security, Consent and Opt-Outs Pages 16-19 describes standards for organisations that are appropriate for board level.

Framework: Non-Adoption, Abandonment, Scalability, Spread and Sustainability framework Trisha Greenhalgh – understanding risk in large tech programmes.

Blog: GDS Blog The Cabinet Office technology transformation programme – useful in posing questions to test a technology business case.

Organisational certification: The National Cyber Security Centre has a self-assessment model to identify how well your organisation manages risks of cyber-security.

Paper: The Government IT Self-Harm Playbook Dan Sheldon formally of Government Digital Services describes some of the anti-patterns organisations can display that harm effective change around IT programmes.

Service: NHS Digital provide testing and assurance services you can use to provide external assurance on your organisation’s technology.

Resources: IT Governance website – identifies a number of standards that apply to digital services, giving areas boards may wish to audit.

Book: Digital Transformation at Scale: Why the Strategy Is Delivery – written by the leads at the Government Digital Service. Accessible, not too long and an excellent introduction to this area.

Video:Spotify’s engineering culture has a great model to engage staff and support them to have conversations to solve problems. The first nine minutes of this video are most helpful.