You can’t have escaped the recent press attention surrounding NHS Digital Roadmaps and the plans to make the NHS paperless by 2020. As pledged in Personalised Health and Care 2020, the aim is that “all patient and care records will be digital, interoperable and real-time by 2020”. Given the extremely low number of NHS organisations that would claim to be actively progressing towards the goal of becoming paper-light let alone paper-free, this would seem to be a rather challenging objective.

NHS England’s approach has been to task NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to develop local Digital Roadmaps, which will co-ordinate the strategic plans of NHS providers in their local area to become paper-free at the point of care delivery. By bringing together these local Digital Roadmaps, NHS England hopes to be able to create a national mosaic that will support attainment of the 2020 target. CCGs across the country have submitted their ‘Footprint and Governance Template’, specifying which other CCGs, NHS Providers and Local Authorities they will be working with to develop the full digital roadmap for submission in April 2016.

(Above: Beverley Bryant, Director of Digital Technology NHS England, talking at EHI Live on 03/11/15)

NHS England believe that the key to delivery of the Digital Roadmap is self-assessment by CCGs and NHS Providers of their digital maturity using the ‘digital maturity index’. The self-assessment tool and associated guidance are expected to become available during November 2015. However self-assessment can only provide a benchmark of current progress. To develop a truly useful digital roadmap, the constituent NHS and Local Authority organisations will need to have:

  • Developed at least rudimentary digital strategies both at an individual and group level to successfully draw out a five year plan of action that will enable deliver paperless, interoperable care records.
  • Ensured that organisations are prepared to make an excellent case for additional funding as and when this is announced.
  • Recognised that the programmes and projects included in digital roadmaps are not just technology based. Significant cultural and organisational changes will be required to deliver care records that are truly real-time and which span traditional organisational boundaries.

Some other areas that each NHS organisation need to think about during this process are:
NHS Lead CCGs:

  • Who is going to undertake this significant piece of engagement work? 
  • What are your strategic goals for the Digital Roadmap?
  • Do your partner CCGs, local NHS providers and local authorities have the information to enable development of the roadmap?
  • Do you know what funding you will need to deliver real-time digital care records by 2020?

NHS Providers:

  • Are you ready to provide information to your lead CCG about your plans for real-time digital care records?
  • How up to date is your own organisations current digital strategy? Does it need to be updated in line with this exercise?
  • Do you understand the size of the challenge – is you organisation ready to go digital?

Local Authorities:

  • How will you integrate with NHS care providers and commissioners?
  • What are the interoperability challenges?

Channel 3 Consulting has a wealth of experience in developing business focused technology roadmaps with NHS and Local Authority clients. We ask the right questions and facilitate the necessary conversation to aid development of your local digital roadmap. Get in touch to learn how we can help you develop your local Digital Roadmap.

An article by Jane Tyacke, Practice Director and Gareth Dellenty, Director of Consulting - Channel 3 Consulting.