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:

Resources: Home – NHS Digital NHS Digital designs, develops and operates the national IT and data services that support clinicians at work, help patients get the best care, and use data to improve health and care.

Resources: NHS X is now part of the NHS England Transformation Directorate, supporting the digital transformation of healthcare.

Blog: Helping Boards take charge on digital – Sonia Patel (National Chief Information Officer, Health and Social Care) 2020

Briefing: Delivering value with healthcare technologies – HFMA 2021

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.

Digital innovation and the NHS | The Nuffield Trust

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.

Webinar: Transforming healthcare with digital technologies HFMA 2021

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.

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: Advancing the analytical capability of the NHS and its ICS partners – This report describes how analysts, teams, regions and national bodies can organise themselves to deliver strategic analysis, develop their analytical skills and provide opportunities to simplify career pathways for analysts, appreciate and utilise the full range of analytical possibilities at their disposal and connect with peers through networks.

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 – Federation for Informatics Professionals in Health and Social Care is a collaboration between the leading professional bodies in health and care informatics supporting the development of the informatics profession.

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

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

Book: Digital Transformation at Scale: Why the Strategy Is Delivery – 2021 written by the leads at the Government Digital Service. Accessible, not too long and an excellent introduction to this area.