Opportunities and magic wands in health and social care in Scotland

At the Scottish Digital Health and Care Conference at Strathclyde University on 22nd November 2017, John Jeans (Chairman of the Digital Health and Care Institute) chaired a plenary session with a number of healthcare leaders discussing where they see opportunities, where the problems are and what they would do if they had a magic wand…

Lorraine McMillan, Chief Exec East Renfrewshire

Biggest opportunity is sensors.

Biggest challenge is older population who want to live at home – and the opportunity for NHS and local government is to work together to facilitate that.

Not investing enough in people’s homes to facilitate them living safely there – 1) money and 2) attitudes. There have been some trials – some work well – but there is an attitude that it didn’t work then, it won’t work now – even though the technology has advanced.

Lorraine’s magic wand would be to give elderly people easy access to the sensors that the fit in society buy and use – to put into their homes to monitor their health and activities.

She would like to be able to come back in a year and say that she had made it work.

Kirsten Urquhart, Young Scot

Kirsten wants to involve young people in co-designing the kinds of services they need and want – using the DigiInventors challenge as a good example of that (DigiInventors was a programme run by Stuart Deed of DHI – read more here).

She feels that ensuring people have basic Digital Skills are important – and just because you have social media skills doesn’t mean you are digitally literate. There is a perception that young people are digital natives – but it doesn’t mean that they have access to the right resources, or the knowledge to engage. The opportunity is there to take young people with you on the digital transformation journey.

If Kirsten had a magic wand, it would be to make sure young people are involved in the design of services, and enforcing their digital rights.

Colin Cook, Director Digital, SG

The big opportunity is to create the headroom within health and care to allow a level of transformative innovation – that means the health organisations need to share a vision eg working outside traditional boundaries, using cloud services, seeking out additional talent and opinions from other industries.

What’s stopping us? Attitudes. Need to work more collaboratively.

If Colin had a magic wand, he would make everyone – from leaders to citizens – see digital as the enabler of good care, not the enemy of care and personal health.

Need common standards, shared appointments, shared developments of components or services that can be used across the delivery of service.

Geoff Huggins, Director of Digital Health and Social Care, Scottish Government

Sees a great opportunity to work together with Colin and team – to work collaboratively across government to take forward the agenda.

Need to be clear about who owns data and who has access to data.

What’s stopping Geoff’s work? His experience since WannaCry cybersecurity attack is that there isn’t much stopping things, and there is a real appetite for change and making things work – other than their own ambition and desire to bring things forward.

He gives an example of the work they do in 31 and 62 cancer waiting days – they have 14 people in a small health board going through excel sheets to look for people who will breach – these things can be automated!

Also several different systems which don’t interoperate. 12 months on, he wants to see a clear line of sight to having a national platform.

If Geoff had a magic wand, he would make people understand that digital is something you do when you figure out what needs to be done! Human centred design comes first – with the user experience in mind.

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