Digital services transformation in the NHS - an interview with HIMSS
Our Digital Strategy Director, Oliver Westmancott, shared his thoughts on digital services transformation in the NHS at the HIMSS Summit.

Last Thursday saw the official launch of IE GDS - a Government Digital Services standards compliant, Agile software development house. As Gold sponsors of the HIMSS Executive Leadership Summit, we were delighted for Oliver Westmancott to share the bill with top industry speakers including Richard Corbridge, CIO of Health Service Executive Ireland and Stephen Lieber, President and CEO of HIMSS.

In his session titled “Clinician confidence: Neglected key to the successful adoption of emerging healthcare technologies”, Oliver spoke about the importance of winning the confidence of clinicians to drive up adoption of digital health apps. This is the key objective for our current project with Public Health England (PHE), NHS Digital/HSCIC and National Information Board. He also talked about how the Agile development approach endorsed in the Government Service Design Manual can play a real part in achieving change, by taking a Prototype-Refine approach; a theme that was echoed throughout the day.

Oliver was also interviewed for a short video on digital services innovation in the NHS.

Here’s a quick summary of the key points Oliver made in that interview:

  • The new digital services that will really benefit the NHS will be those that improve the current patient experience. In turn, this will drive quick adoption and reduce the cost of serving patients, allowing for further investment and transformation.
  • For the NHS to drive real cultural change for the adoption of digital services, they must first change the attitudes of healthcare professionals. Clinicians need to be given the confidence to recommend new technologies to their patients, and this will drive adoption.
  • IE GDS’ latest innovation is the kitemarking system we are developing with PHE and the National Information Board to assess health apps. Creating this centralised library of approved health apps will improve clinician confidence and ultimately lead to a ‘Digital Prescription’ for patients.
  • A paperless NHS can be achieved by 2020, but that doesn’t mean it will be achieved. Currently, there seems to be too many people pulling in different directions. While evolutionary change towards digital adoption is definitely happening, often people are still too focused on their day jobs to invest all the time (and money) necessary to achieve real transformation.  
  • The Executive Leadership Summit has been really valuable for hearing from people who are doing things differently, and making massive changes in a short space of time. It shows that real transformation is possible, even in an organisation as complex as the NHS, and this is something IE GDS can bring to our clients’ projects.

We had some fascinating conversations on the day and we're looking forward to seeing where IE GDS will take us, and our clients!