NHSX published new guidelines for digitized healthcare in England

07

Sep 2021

On August 31, 2021, NHSX published a set of guidelines for digitized healthcare to support Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and individual health and care organizations to transform services for patients. Three guidelines are available now to help local leaders to accelerate digital transformation in their organizations and support the NHS Long Term commitment to digitize the entire NHS for the benefit of patients and staff.

What Good Looks Like guidance sets out a common vision for the good digital practice and has seven success measures (well-led, ensure smart foundations, safe practice, support people, empower citizens, improve care, healthy populations) that frontline NHS systems and organizations across England should aim to reach, and it was included in the 2021 to 2022 Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance and the ICS Design Framework. Support in the form of funding, digital expertise, an online knowledge base, and a specific assessment framework, which will help identify gaps and prioritize areas for local improvement, will be available. The goal is to ensure that the right information, tools, and support to digitally transform services and provide better care are in place.

Who Pays for What (WPfW) identifies the barriers faced by the system when it comes to investment in digital technology and proposes actions to overcome these barriers in 2021 to 2022 and beyond. According to the WPfW, the fundamental problems to be fixed include complex funding arrangements, payment, financial and other policies that impede innovative tech investment, and lack of information and measurements for optimizing tech investment. NHSX plans to tackle these barriers in 2021/22 by:

  • Consolidating national funds for transformational tech projects into a single fund (the Unified Tech Fund);
  • Improving the timeliness, usefulness, and reliability of digital metrics available for benchmarking;
  • Providing tools and case studies to help ICSs model and track benefits from tech investments;
  • Reviewing national policies to support digital investments.

Over time, it is proposed to move away from central funding of frontline tech, giving ICSs more control over the resources with which to deliver their tech plan. Work is planned for aligning financial, payment, and other NHS policies with good tech investments. The outlined policy areas are as follows:

  • Ensuring compliance with minimum standards on interoperability and cyber security;
  • Encouraging uptake of established technologies that are not yet used widely enough across the NHS;
  • Promoting 'cutting edge' innovation;
  • Adoption of emerging digital technologies.

Unified Tech Fund (UTF), part of the WPfW strategy, seeks to simplify and consolidate the process for accessing technology funding. The UTF brings together multiple existing technology funds. It will enable staff in NHS organizations and ICSs to understand a number of different elements of funding available for digital and to apply for them through a single mechanism. It also means there's transparency and fairness with the visibility of who has applied for what.

The full details can be found here.

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