The report highlights a number of key steps to improve the adoption of digital technologies. It acknowledges the importance of technology in bridging the gap between demand for healthcare and the capacity of healthcare services to meet that demand and provides an objective view of the current state of NHS digitalisation and what the future of healthcare might look like.
Successive policy documents over the past five years have recognised the need to get the basic digital architecture right, to improve the quality of data and information flows and deliver more timely, efficient, and safe care. Staff and patients need confidence that their data is held securely and used appropriately. Guiding principles include developing open standards, having secure identity and interoperability standards, ensuring the right data gets to the right place at the right time; and that services are designed around user needs. These principles form part of the NHS Long Term Plan which aims to accelerate the redesign of patient care to future-proof the NHS for the decade ahead. It expects digitally-enabled care to go mainstream across the NHS, advancing to a core level of digitisation by 2024, helping clinicians to work more efficiently and effectively, improving the patient experience and optimising health outcomes.
While a number of digital and technology systems and services are being delivered in some parts of the NHS, our research shows that technology adoption in many hospitals, primary care and community settings is slow with a gap in the digital maturity of providers. Although most providers have some form of electronic health record platform, the functionalities vary widely. The next step for digital transformation is to be able to access, share and use health information seamlessly. For healthcare to realise this will require a radical shift in the culture and mind-set of healthcare stakeholders. It will also require a review of how digital transformation is funded.
The insights provided in this report are drawn from an extensive literature review; a comprehensive survey of 1,500 doctors, nurses and allied health professionals; structured interviews with 65 key stakeholders across the health ecosystem; and the experience of our colleagues across Deloitte who have worked with clients on digital transformation projects in the UK and other comparable countries.