News

17.02.17

Biggest challenge for STPs is recognising the importance of digital

In order for Local Digital Roadmaps (LDRs) and STPs to succeed in their aims the footprints must recognise the importance of digital early on in the process, NHE has been told.

Discussing the 73 LDR footprints, which are now focusing on alignment with the 44 STPs, Dr Masood Nazir, National Clinical Lead – Digital Transformation of General Practice NHS England, the biggest challenge is that the STP needs to recognise the importance of the digital arm in its footprint.

“As is often the way, projects take off at speed and digital can often be a bit of an add-on; it really needs to be considered early on,” he said. “It needs to be brought in at the beginning of the agenda.”

When initially formed LDRs brought local commissioners, providers and social care partners together to set out how they will achieve the ambition of ‘paperless at the point of care’ by 2020, but Dr Nazir added that for them to work the initial investment must be spread across local health economies.

“It’s because of this initial investment that LDRs really need to be a critical part of the STPs,” he said. “With digital agendas, an organisation spending money on its own won’t go very far.

“Investment, although challenged, will come into STPs. So it’s really important that organisations work together and really look at what the local health economy needs and make the best use of that investment.

“If you collate the amount of money you have for this, at scale, across a health economy, it will go much further. The money will buy you what you need in order to build the foundation to really make it work, and you’ll also get the efficiencies with it. Otherwise you will get silo processes and working.”

While accepting that there is a challenge to meeting the ‘paperless at the point of care’ by 2020 deadline, the clinical information lead and senior information risk owner at NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG said that the dates “are achievable, if we share”.

“Having worked on a programme to share electronic documents out of hospitals to GP surgeries, the initial bit took quite a long time because there were so many lessons to learn with regards to going paperless,” said Dr Nazir, adding that once the process has been mastered and the confidence is gained then the challenge of behavioural change is made much easier.

“The challenge will be breaking it down into achievable milestones and gaining patient and system confidence in being able to achieve what we want to,” he added. “The final bit is about the change management: it isn’t just about the technology, there is a lot of investment needed in changing behaviours and cultures.”

NHE will be featuring a full interview with Dr Nazir in the Mar/Apr edition, focusing on LDRs and the move towards paperless in commissioning.

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