NHS technology milestones include digital first primary and secondary care


A number of milestones for technology in the NHS, which include every patient being able to access digital first primary care and all secondary care providers being fully digitalised by 2024, have been set by NHS England.

The NHS Long Term plan, which has been published today, sets out the health service’s digital goals for the next five to ten years. (full list can be seen below)

This includes the target that ‘by 2023/24 every patient in England will be able to access a digital first primary care offer’.

According to NHS England, this commitment will be delivered through three approaches which include creating a new framework for suppliers to offer their software to primary care.

Another approach is adjusting the GP payment formulae to ‘ensure fair funding without inequality favouring one type of GP provider over another’, an argument which has arisen following the launch of Babylon’s GP at Hand app in 2017.

Another milestone set out in the 126-page document calls for all patients to have access to their care plan and communications from their care professionals via the NHS App by 2021/22.

The NHS App, according to NHS England, will ‘create a standard online way’ for people to access the health service and will work ‘seamlessly with other services at national and local levels’.

The importance of CIOs and CCIOs is also highlighted with one milestone pledging there should be one on the board of very local NHS organisation.  Digital Health News, previously as EHI, has campaigned for the appointment of CCIOs in every trust since 2002.

Speaking at the launch of the plan at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, the Prime Minister said it was a ‘historic moment’ for the NHS.

Theresa May added: “I wanted to see the NHS make greater use of technology, not only to make healthcare safer and more effective, but making the most of exciting new possibilities and giving you greater control over your own care.”

NHS Digital’s chief executive, Sarah Wilkinson, has also welcomed the plan.

She said: “We are particularly pleased that the plan recognises the extent to which new and improved technology and digital services can enable many of the goals set-out, all of which we whole-heartedly support.

“Over the coming years we in NHS Digital, working closely with our partners across the system, will work to make digital access to health and care services as pervasive as it is now across other sectors.”

The NHS’ milestones for digital technology:

  • During 2019 we will introduce controls to ensure new systems purchased by the NHS comply with agreed standards, including those set out in The Future of Healthcare.
  • By 2020, five geographies will deliver a longitudinal health and care record platform linking NHS and local authority organisations, three additional areas will follow in 2021.
  • In 2020/21, people will have access to their care plan and communications from their care professionals via the NHS App; the care plan will move to the individual’s LHCR across the country over the next five years.
  • By summer 2021, we will have 100% compliance with mandated cyber security standards across all NHS organisations in the health and care system.
  • In 2021/22, we will have systems that support population health management in every Integrated Care System across England, with a Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO) on the board of every local NHS organisation.
  • By 2022/23, the Child Protection Information system will be extended to cover all health care settings, including general practices.
  • By 2023/24 every patient in England will be able to access a digital first primary care offer.
  • By 2024, secondary care providers in England, including acute, community and mental health care settings, will be fully digitised, including clinical and operational processes across all settings, locations and departments. Data will be captured, stored and transmitted electronically, supported by robust IT infrastructure and cyber security, and LHCRs will cover the whole country.

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