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Boards across England urged to put IT at the top of the agenda

IT and new technology designed to drive innovation should be “at the top of the agenda” of every board in the country, NHS England’s national director for operations and information has this week stated.

Addressing delegates at NHS Expo at Manchester Central on Tuesday, Matthew Swindells said that with the integration of technology and digital ways of working moving from “press release to reality”, boards needed to recognise this and strive to embed modern working practices in everything they did.

On the same day that heath secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a number of new ‘fast followers’ who would receive funding to drive towards being given digital global exemplar status, Swindells argued that this message should apply for all NHS organisations rather than just the exemplars.

“We have some brilliant STPs who are at the leading edge of change and some who are struggling to build those partnerships,” he told the audience in his keynote speech. “No one has not moved forward, and nowhere doesn’t have a better sense of partnership now than it did a year ago.

“We need every board to put IT at the top of their agenda, thinking cyber security, service redesign, data quality, data capture and how I can use new tech to drive the changes I want to make in my organisation.”

But Swindells’ message did not just extend to health leaders at NHS organisations. He also extended the challenge to IT departments, saying that they needed to get out and also be an active part of pressing forward with innovation in trusts.

“The challenge to every organisation and vendor is to be open, and not protective about data, which belongs to the patient,” he continued. “If they want you to share the data you have with another clinician who is treating them, I don’t want to see vendors locking data down or hospitals treating data like it’s some market opportunity.

“That’s not the NHS we are. We are focused around helping populations, and this data sharing is important because working together is working.”

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editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >