News, Secondary Care

North Staffordshire Combined launches Digital by Choice Strategy

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust has published its digital strategy to outline its priorities and methodology to deliver services to meet the needs of its local population over the next five years.

Published as part of the Trust’s overall strategy, it includes its vision, values, strategic themes and sections including quality, people, partnerships and sustainability. The overall vision is ‘to be outstanding – in all we do and how we do it’, the strategy states.

Over recent years, the Trust has focused on an implementation of Lorenzo as its electronic patient record, and notes that the pace to adopt digital solutions during the COVID pandemic has ‘raised the expectation of leaders and staff highlighting the continued importance of digital capability and infrastructure’.

As part of its ‘Digital by Choice Strategy’ it states plans to embed agile methodologies and respond quickly to any future changes in demand and expectation from regulators and service users through developing a deeper appreciation of patient demand patterns.

Over the next year the Trust plans to upgrade its infrastructure and ensure device mobility. It plans to optimise and enhance existing platforms, work towards service users taking greater control of their care, and adopt a patient portal.

Chris Bird, Executive Director of Partnerships, Strategy and Digital, said: “We want to build on our successes, we were one of only a few trusts nationally to be part of the new National Digital Aspirant programme, and that’s provided a huge opportunity for us to really deliver digital transformation at scale over the next few years. We will be bringing forward a programme of clinical readiness, whether that’s at home as part of our new arrangements for agile working, or across all our estate and in the community.

“A large part of Staffordshire is rural by nature, and we have huge variation in digital connectivity, so it’s a huge undertaking, and one that will make a huge difference.

“We will also be bringing some targeted transformation programmes forward to enhance digital pathways and will be working together with system partners to upgrade our infrastructure.

“Over recent years the Trust has made significant improvements in our use of technology but there remains a long way to go.”

The strategy also includes a section focused on a mission statement to ‘attract, develop and retain the best people’, and aims to create an ‘open and constructive dialogue’ on ‘what can digital do for you’ to ensure that digital transformation is aligned to issues colleagues feel will have the most beneficial impact on their role.

The Trust plans to develop its digital leadership to integrate digital thinking at the highest levels and ensure senior level representation and responsibility for overseeing digital technologies.

Cultural readiness and engagement is also a key focus, recognising ‘that the strongest driver of staff engagement is the sense that individuals are valued and listened to’.

Partnership working plays a key focus within the strategy, to support effective sharing of information and in establishing integration of systems to support the delivery of integrated care pathways.

You can read the digital strategy here.