Secondary Care

Digital transformation of health care must involve nurses

The RCN warns that the digital transformation of health care will remain a pipe-dream unless nurses are involved.

Today the RCN is launching the results of a consultation with nurses and midwives on what is needed for nursing to play its full part in the digital transformation of health care.

The results will be launched at a roundtable attended by digital experts and nurse leaders from organisations including NHS Improvement, Health Education England and the Council of Deans of Health.

The RCN says that until the NHS takes full advantage of the expertise and views of nurses – the largest single staff group in the health service – it won’t be able to realise all the benefits digital technology can bring for patients and staff.

Ross Scrivener, RCN eHealth lead, said: “In the past few weeks leading up to the 70th anniversary of the NHS, we’ve heard a succession of health care leaders arguing that the best way to transform health care in the UK is to utilise the full benefits of digital technology.

“But our consultation shows that that aim will remain a pipe-dream unless managers, technology providers and IT staff take more account of the views of nurses.

“The responses to our survey reveal some depressingly mundane barriers to nurses’ full participation in digital transformation, from wifi that doesn’t work, to computers that take too long to log on.

“The single most important theme to emerge from the consultation is that involving nurses in the design and implementation of programmes and systems to improve patient care is not an optional add-on – it is absolutely vital.”

Almost 900 nurses and midwives took part in the RCN’s online consultation earlier this year, with over 100 more attending five in-depth focus groups held across the four countries of the UK.