What Digital Means For The NHS

We can’t change the world but we can be part of the solution

Digital technologies present ever increasing ways of improving business processes, better management of information and more dynamic ways of communicating, both within organisations and between the citizen and service providers. Data sits at the heart of this process, and therefore how data is held and managed is crucial.

Aaron Allaway, Engagement Director at Crown Hosting, shares insight into the digital transformation of the NHS.

1) In the present moment, where does the NHS stand with digital transformation?

The NHS is taking active measures towards digital transformation. At present, many Trusts are finalising their business and technology strategies, with some already starting to implement them.

There are many aspects that need to be considered such as real estate strategies, sustainability plans, clinical and life science data programs etc. All these programs to the complexity and total time spent implementing a digital & data vision that ultimately is being made to improve health and care.

The biggest challenge of any digital transformation project is not necessarily the technology, but the people. Change is only successful if it is accepted and adopted by everyone and there is a clear and well communicated plan, otherwise all the time, money and effort spent does not support the organisation change, but contributes to financial waste.

2) Why does the NHS need to embrace digital?

A digital focus will ultimately deliver improved patient services, the care experience and drive cost efficiencies for the NHS. The UK public is increasingly demanding online services, and this is no less true in healthcare. The UK Government is listening and is providing the types of service that the public are used to in other sectors, such as banking, retail and particularly social media.

Today’s ‘Information Generation’ has demanding requirements of the organisations and businesses from which they choose to use or buy products and services, and they expect the same from the NHS.

3) What has been holding the sector back from delivering on digital targets?

The main obstacle for the NHS is the complexity of its organisation, culture and federated legacy IT contracts and systems, which in the past has thwarted innovation & savings. At the moment, the majority of NHS organisations don’t have the technology infrastructure in place to form the foundations for new types of services. They are looking at the means to change this. If we want a more engaged and informed public who are more confident in all aspects of self-care, then they need to have access to the relevant tools, information and platforms.

Funding is also a constant restraint in the NHS. So with a limited budget, how can IT teams reduce operational risk, increase efficiency and digitise current legacy estate data, all whilst controlling spend? It’s a big ask but it isn’t unachievable.

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Crown Hosting Data Centres (CHDC) supports major cost savings whilst the NHS delivers and executes their digital plans.

4) How can a framework like Crown Hosting help the NHS in its Cloud first journey?

The Crown Data Centres are government accredited, highly resilient, diversely connected; at low cost with have no commercial lock in. Legacy or new IT systems have a more efficient, secure and improved environment in which to operate therefore reducing operational risks significantly.

Crown Hosting Data Centres enables the NHS to continue delivering goals. Even where the NHS hasn’t yet decided what its next step is, CHDC can help save money until they do. What’s more, the framework doesn’t impose itself on any existing or future managed services or hardware arrangements.

The framework is enabling the repurposing of real estate for patient services by freeing up space allocated to datacentres already on-premise. This approach can also lead to the sale of under-utilised or redundant space.

5) Why does fast delivery of a digital transformation mean big savings?

Digital transformation may not immediately save the NHS money but it will deliver better outcomes and value by improving patient services. The tax payer’s pot to invest in the NHS is always under scrutiny, yet the NHS will always need to invest to keep up with demand, so they need to reduce inefficiency. Crown Hosting Data Centres are an integral part of enabling the NHS to be more efficient now and in the future.