Dr Simon Eccles – CCIO at NHS England – Digital Health Summer Schools 2018, Birmingham

These are some notes I took from Dr Eccles’ talk at the above conference. They aren’t very structured or organised, but I’ve gone over them post-hoc to add a few slides from his talk and hopefully they spark some food for thought. I’ve published them here more as a record for my own personal use.

Embedding digital within leadership. What are the skills we need? Clinical, digital and operational – these people are the future leaders. NHS is moving towards being a digital business:

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    • Digital will be so baked into everything we do, that info and tech competence will no longer be seen as a ‘nice to have’ or specialist knowledge, instead it will be recognised as a fundamental skill of all clinical leaders
    • Non Clinical and Clinical Leaders alike, and CEOs will not be able to work effectively in the healthcare world to come without a deep and thorough understanding of the benefits and use of data, digital health tools, cyber security threat and defences.

Over the last five months, what has Dr Eccles done & learned? Signed a memorandum of understanding between NHS Digital and Home Office. Then the national data sharing opt out. Thinks GDPR has woken the population up about control of their data. Navigating between NHS England, NHS Digital and NHS Improvement.

Happy to be making great progress:

  • Local health and care records nationwide in progress.
  • NHS app is going into beta and then will be live to citizens next year.
  • Supporting trusts to become GDEs
  • Artificial intelligence becoming part of clinical triage systems

Roadmap for empower the person programme:

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For Dr Eccles, the most important piece is the interoperable record to allow data movement. The majority of clinicians don’t enjoy their interactions with the computer. Dr Eccles described that when he was a patient, a ward round consists of a circle of the backs of computers on wheels surrounding your bed with disembodied voices floating over them.

Talked about the Personal Health Record – the standard method used by the Veteran’s Association in USA – they can check their record before their appointment, make an agenda, and discuss their agenda with their clinicians.

Should be automating everything possible.

Need data for business intelligence:

  • Real time comparisons
  • Improving safety
  • Better planning
  • Understanding efficiency

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Thinks we should be transparent with safety statistics, and publishing our pathways to compare efficiency.

The NHS England approach to digital transformation:

  • Empower people
  • Support clinicians
  • Integrate services
  • Manage the system – the system should be able to understand itself and improve itself
  • Create the future

We’ve barely scratched the surface of where wearables could take us. We’re not ready for everyone to be using them and pushing them into the personal record.

The core interoperability priorities:

  • Staff ID
  • Citizen ID
  • Dates and scheduling
  • Basic observations – standardise all the datasets for the NEWS2 score
  • Basic pathology
  • Medications
  • Diagnostic codes

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Enabling AI in health – this will require a regulatory framework + a code of conduct which Indra Joshi is working on – exciting! The first opportunities will probably be in the non-clinical realm.

The 10 year strategy. The centre has a job to enable the organisations at the periphery to do great things – and to find those things, find out why it works and help them roll out. He wants to help SMEs interact better with the NHS – eg deliberately ignoring rules about 3 years of accounts and procurement.

Lastly discussed working with new Health Secretary Matt Hancock – how extremely passionate he is about technology and how he is talking the right language about data interoperability.


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