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What does good look like? Health IT industry responds to NHSX framework

The much anticipated ‘What Good Looks Like’ framework was released by NHSX on 31st August, and it’s certainly caused a stir of excitement and anticipation for what is to come. See what the industry had to say on whats right, whats missing, and how they plan to use the guidance to maintain digital momentum.

Richard Strong, Managing Director and Vice President, Allscripts EMEA, said:

“Overall, I welcome the WGLL framework. It marks an important step forward in assisting healthcare providers move towards digital maturity, both internally and at ICS level. When considered jointly with ‘Who Pays For What’, I see a promising foundation being laid for the acceleration of digital healthcare in the UK. Additionally, with the date for the legislation of ICSs fast approaching, it is reassuring to see a focus on helping organisations become prepared.

“The framework does a good job explaining the ‘what’, but suppliers and trusts must work together to deliver the ‘how’. The success measures reflect the work we are doing with our customers, which confirms that the services we provide will enable NHS organisations continue their journey towards digital maturity.

“For example, Gloucestershire NHS Foundation Trust embodies a well led organisation, with Executive Chief Digital & Information Officer Mark Hutchinson driving digital maturity – supported by our EPR. At Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, they are improving care by using our solutions to integrate patient data across care settings and manage population health data.

“The success measures, particularly those for ICSs, will rely on open, connected systems. However, the reference to open data in the framework is conspicuous by its absence, which I hope is not a sign of backtracking on the positive commitments laid out in the draft Data Saves Lives strategy.”

Kenny Bloxham, Managing Director, Healthcare Communications, said:

“The What Good Looks Like’ framework will enable us to assess and adapt how we support our partner organisations so they can deliver the best care possible. Empowering and engaging all citizens, digitally enabled or not, is key element of our strategy. We are pleased to see literacy and digital inclusion needs are at the core of the WGLL framework for empowering citizens.”

Matt Cox, Managing Director, Better UK and Ireland, said:

“We welcome the guidance on what good looks like. Whilst these are simple clear measures to help establish good practice we would have liked the recommendations to have gone further in terms of setting the expectation around the new data policies, the separation of data and tacking ownership back from the vendors – particularly when it comes to the recommendations in success measure 2 – smart foundations which points to consolidation of contracts with a risk of shutting out innovation. This is also going to be vital when it comes to success measure 7, in which emphasis is placed on longitudinal data. In our view, this is an opportunity to build on the momentum from the draft data saves lives strategy to refer directly to the importance of open data in enabling digital transformation in health and care.”

Andy Meiner, Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer, Silverlink Software, said:

“As a company, we broadly welcome the new guidance published by NHSX, outlining how NHS organisations should be driving digital transformation. The COVID–19 pandemic has shown us the importance of digital and data, and providing local NHS leaders with digital success measures is a good way to ensure that we continue to build on the progress we have made in terms of normalising the use of digital technologies across the health and care estate.

“After all, digital should be a core component to the way the NHS operates, and never seen as a luxury or afterthought. But even though the guidance represents a good starting point, it is critical that the NHS invests time and resource into identifying and training the right leaders to deliver upon its digital and data ambitions. Only then will we be able to maximise the potential of health and care service delivery.”

David Best, Chief Operating Officer, Difrent, said:

“Overall, the objectives of the WGLL framework are excellent, but the complexity and cost of the changes needed to make them real at all levels of the care system should not be underestimated.

“Finding Board members who are both versed and immersed in the digital mindset, as well as being subject matter experts in one or more aspects of health, remains a challenge. Board development must focus on greater digital presence as it’s the responsibility of these board members to ensure that practical, effective, solutions are employed, while ensuring interoperability at network, data, application and user interface levels.

“Encouraging people to take more personal responsibility for contributing to their care is to be welcomed, but if all in society are to benefit equally, this must be inclusive. Digital is not a panacea and while the use of digital services in communication, diagnosis, and the relationship between professional and patient are increasingly mature, patients are each unique and care must be taken in applying population level approaches.”

Meghan Leaver, Co-Founder, PEP Health, said:

“At a high level, I think it’s great that NHSX are driving this guidance forward and it’s a much-needed framework to help NHS organisations navigate the emerging healthtech space in a smart and safe way.

“I would flag however, that the key challenges lie in the skills and capabilities of the NHS organisations tasked with meeting these success criteria – data sharing is highly decentralised, and trusts don’t have a culture of sharing best practise in digital adoption widely, evidenced by significant variations in adoption across the NHS. I would say points 1-4 are largely about upskilling the current workforce and modernising systems, which is necessary if we are to see the levelling up – and levelling out – of digital adoption across the NHS.

“From PEP Health’s point of view, we are pleased to see points 5-7 align to our similar mission of empowering patients, which we are practising through the democratisation of patient experience, and improving care and supporting healthy populations, which we are achieving through real time actionable patient insights.

“We believe that the emerging ICS structure provides an ideal opportunity to transform the way we understand patient experience. Therefore, we welcome the NHSX guidance to empower organisations within the NHS to adopt digital methods more safely and effectively to meet these aims and are pleased to see that patient outcomes and experience are central to the planning and design of successful digital transformation.

“Lastly, speaking as a data driven start up working within the NHS – we welcome the simplifcation of the financial process through “Who Pays For What” – this will help disable current barriers to access for SME’s and enable NHS organisations to plan and execute in a timelier way in order to drive innovation and create change at pace.”

Tom Whicher, Founder, DrDoctor, said:

“The framework has been referred to as a ‘clear north star’ for digital success, but with seven different areas of focus, I see it more as a constellation, with each star burning brightly with its importance. I think it’s important to view this framework as just that – a framework. It’s a starting point, or rather a number of starting points, from where the real work needs to begin. Within each of the success criteria, whilst they all focus on crucial deliverables within digital health, there is a decided lack of specificity on how to approach, quantify and execute these deliverables. The task to make our health service ‘good’ is one of great magnitude and realistically each of the seven elements are independent projects in their own right.

“Whilst we’re being realistic, given the magnitude of the task at hand, building the capability to execute on each and every point will require a lot of time and resource, and it is important that we recognise just how big a task this will be. That being said, once every point has been actioned, the NHS will undoubtedly be a world class healthcare organisation.

“In this journey to becoming a modernised, world leading healthcare provider, I think it is essential that we don’t lose sight of the digital progress that has been made during the pandemic. Covid most certainly made room for great innovation in our sector, and this creative space should be maintained, with innovation being seen as an enabler of success rather than a risk factor. A joined up approach where NHS organisations and healthcare suppliers are working together to create a sustainable and interconnected healthcare system will be essential to making this framework, which is the product of more than 10 years of thinking, become a reality.”