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Policy report

The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care

Health Big data Telehealth Health technology United Kingdom

This document sets out the government’s vision for the use of technology, digital and data within health and care, to meet the needs of all our users.

Our ultimate objective is the provision of better care and improved health outcomes for people in England. But this cannot be done without a clear focus on improving the technology used by the 1.4 million NHS staff, 1.5 million-strong social care workforce and those many different groups who deliver and plan health and care services for the public.

This vision sets out a new approach that we want to develop collaboratively. We’ve set out what we want to see and how we think we should get there. This includes setting clear standards for the use of technology in health and care.

We don’t have all the answers – this should be the beginning of an open conversation about how we can iterate to best achieve what is needed and work with the many brilliant, forward-thinking people in the system to get it right.

It is clear that across the health and care system, there is a lot of good work locally and nationally to build on. We have included examples of this best practice throughout. Many truly engaged professionals are working hard to improve health and care through the implementation of national and local systems, and through the introduction of new healthtech innovations.

We must now all unite around a common vision to drive this forward together, harnessing innovation in the full spectrum from the most mundane to the most exciting, from basic IT to advanced AI.

To achieve this vision, we have many real challenges to overcome:

  • legacy technology and commercial arrangements
  • complex organisational and delivery structures
  • a risk-averse culture
  • limited resources to invest
  • a critical need to build and maintain public trust

At the heart of this vision are 4 guiding principles we should maintain to make this work:

  • user need
  • privacy and security
  • interoperability and openness
  • inclusion

And we need to draw on emerging thinking on designing technology safely, ethically and effectively for the values and interests of civil society.

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