NHSX publishes post-pandemic guidance for digital healthcare

Written by Gill Hitchcock on 1 September 2021 in News
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Health secretary Sajid Javid says guidance gives a clear direction to drive NHS tech

Credit: PA

NHSX has published new digital guidance for the NHS setting out what it should be doing to make better use of digital technologies across its services and how this should be funded.

The What Good Looks Like guidance describes a common foundation that should be in place across the NHS, from using a secure digital infrastructure to ensuring that digital systems are designed to meet the needs of healthcare staff and patients.

There is an emphasis on enabling patients to access their care plans and test results digitally, for NHS trusts to explore new ways of delivering care, such as remote monitoring and consultations, and to improve care through the use of e-prescribing systems.

NHSX, the digital policy unit for England’s health service, recognises that the Covid crisis has driven the NHS to achieve a level of digital transformation that might have otherwise taken several years.

As the country recovers, NHSX believes the guidance will be an important step in continuing to digitise the NHS and build on the digital progress achieved during the pandemic.

It has promised tools to support digital transformation in individual services. These include an assessment framework which NHS organisations will use to measure their digital progress, identify gaps and prioritise areas for improvement.

"This new guidance from NHSX provides a clear direction to all NHS trusts on how to drive digital transformation forward and transform organisations, which will improve patient care and save lives." - Sajid Javid

In addition, NHSX will supply funding, digital expertise and an online knowledge base, intended as an easy way for NHS managers to access information to support their digital innovation. It will include blueprints, standards, templates, real-life examples and best practice.

Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for health and social care, said: "Over the past 18 months we have all appreciated the immense value of technology.

“This is particularly true for the NHS with digital technologies freeing up hospital beds and allowing clinicians to continue seeing patients remotely – and it will be invaluable in meeting other health challenges in the long-term.

"This new guidance from NHSX provides a clear direction to all NHS trusts on how to drive digital transformation forward and transform organisations, which will improve patient care and save lives."

Later this year, NHSX will follow the guidance with an assessment process. It will be designed so that NHS organisations can identify digital gaps and prioritise areas for investment and improvement.

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