Blog: Reflections on the Digital Health and Care Conference 2020
The Digital Health and Care Conference 2020 discussed issues we have heard before, brought new ideas we should consider and learnings to share. From the start, it was clear the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP)’s vision and aims were in step with the themes of the conference.
We must start with the exciting news that the My Clinical Outcomes, a Cancer Innovation Challenge (CIC) funded project*, and NHS Aryshire and Arran won the Industry Collaboration Award for their Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) technology platform for using “Digital Patient reported Outcomes to Enhance Routine Cancer Care”. Recognition of this CIC project shows that innovation between industry and our NHS is possible, is deemed important and best of all it benefits patients.
In addition, our own Scottish Cancer Registry and Intelligence Service (SCRIS) was shortlisted for the Technology and Data in Action Award. Our partnership with National Services Scotland (NSS) is to modernise the Scottish Cancer Registry to get the most out of cancer data. Unfortunately, SCRIS did not win, but the recognition is an award in itself. Congrats again to the NSS team and their efforts!
Early on, IHDP noted the parallels between the themes of the conference and our aims on information governance (IG), education and shared learning.
The frustration around the lack of improvement to IG was clear amongst the host, attendees and panellists. Phil Couser, Data Driven Innovation, Public Health Scotland mentioned a technological solution to the Information Governance issue does not exist. A streamlined approach is necessary and a ‘Once for Scotland’ Approach, an ambition IHDP has been supporting since our programme commenced in 2015, is the only way forward. Our Director, Professor Aileen Keel, called ‘Once for Scotland’ a “mantra” the country needs to get behind. IHDP has been firmly involved in a programme of consensus-building around the future direction for the governance of data use and sharing in NHS Scotland.
Data literacy amongst the health and social care community was emphasised. No one is expected to become a data scientist. However, to realise the benefits of data, you need the skills to interpret data. Data will drive improvement in patient care so how do we build career frameworks to ensure a skilled workforce? The ultimate goal is to include data science in the curriculum of our education systems. In the meantime, IHDP partnered with the University of Edinburgh to create a free massive open online course (MOOC) called Data Science in Stratified Healthcare and Precision Medicine. This course was designed to enhance data science capability and capacity building across the healthcare sector with a particular focus on NHS/NSS.
Although there seemed to be a general dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in digital health and care, there were still success stories to highlight. Following Professor Aileen Keel’s case study presentation on SCRIS, we heard about the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR). NIECR is a massive achievement for digital health. Stephen Beattie, eHealth Programme Manager, Business Services Organisation, described this ECR as more than a clinical portal because it completely connects services, providing a traceable end-to-end process. Their next steps are a patient portal. Hearing success stories like this gives hope to those still organising and building their services. Let us keep sharing our learnings.
Overall, the conference was enlightening. Alastair Hann, Chief Technology Officer NES Digital Service, in his keynote address: “Encouraging Data-Driven Innovation” raised an interesting question on sharing failures. Why not publish an overview of pilots and trials possibly in a ‘Journal of Failed Ideas’? IHDP recognises the enormous value of shared learning and encourages a ‘test and learn’ approach. The knowledge and experience gained could be of enormous value in pursuing solutions to similar problems. A ‘failure register’ is an important learning resource if we are to develop a culture of national collaboration. We can support the “Once for Scotland” policy by shared learning which includes our failures.
*IHDP is a partner of the CIC.