Event Recap: Digital Transformation in Health Care

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4 minutes
Written by
Marielle Walmsley

On Monday 18th March 2024, we held our first networking event of the year at the Saïd Business School in Oxford. We were joined by our network of associates and partners, alongside Chief Digital Executive, Ross Fullerton as our guest speaker.

Ross spoke about ‘Digital Transformation in Health Care’, including the latest challenges and opportunities in this space and how he navigated these in his role as CDIO at NHS Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board and CIO at London Ambulance Service.

En route to Oxford, I tuned into the news reporting a cyber security breach serving as a stark reminder of the persistent threats posed by digital vulnerabilities. This incident underscored the crucial need for robust digital healthcare investment, a topic which was later explored extensively during the evening's discussions.

Ross discussed the importance of long-term planning as part of a comprehensive strategy in digital healthcare investment, as well as the challenges of integration and interoperability in clinical information systems and the benefits of doing so. He emphasised how strategic planning is paramount in aligning investments with clinical pathway design while comprehensively addressing user needs.

Findings in a King’s Fund report emphasise Ross’ comments on the importance of aligning strategic planning and funding. Analysis from the report, conducted by the Institute for Government and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, pinpointed capital underinvestment as a key factor contributing to lower-than-desired NHS productivity. This under investment results in services having inadequate technology, data, and connectivity, hindering the ability to better coordinate patient care. In the Spring Budget of 2024, a substantial £3.4 billion investment in NHS digitisation was announced. However, concerns have been raised by digital professionals regarding the historical diversion of NHS technology budgets to address short-term pressures, highlighting how imperative this allocated funding is utilised as intended.

Data serves as a cornerstone in healthcare, from electronic health records to medical imaging, informing clinical decision-making, enabling personalised care, and facilitating population health management. Ross discussed the necessity of investing in all IT system components for effectively mobilising digital strategies. These components, ranging from devices and apps, to databases, server systems and hardware, through to networks and data centres, collectively form the full digital infrastructure. Each component plays a crucial role in facilitating the flow of information and ensuring efficient healthcare delivery.

Ross also reflected on his attendance at Digital Health Rewired 2024 earlier in the month highlighting the importance of the collaborative discussions that took place between system leaders, trust CEOs, and digital leaders. Not only did it provide opportunities for lively debates on Digital Transformation, Integrated Care, Leadership, and healthcare challenges, but it also served as a platform to explore radical ideas and share NHS case studies of driving digitisation.

Ross’ talk concluded with a Q&A,where he was asked to share how to engage colleagues with digital initiatives. Drawing on his extensive experience working in CDIO and CIO roles, Ross highlighted the importance of digital board representation and cultivating a strong digital culture across the organisation to drive engagement.

Whilst there were numerous takeaways from Ross’ talk, the focus was clear; data plays a pivotal role in driving digital transformation initiatives, which in turn will enhance efficiency, reduce costs, but most importantly, improve patient outcomes.


Our next Associate Event will be taking place on October 9th 2024 in London and we would love to see you there. To register your interest please email us on associates@ccal.co.uk.

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