A new report titled ‘Data Driven Healthcare in 2030′, commissioned by the Health Education England Digital Readiness Programme, has been published.
The report aims to help identify the capacity and capability challenges facing the NHS digital technology and informatics workforce in the next 10 years, with a particular focus on skills needed for a data driven future.
It has been developed for people responsible for recruitment of a digital workforce and developing digital teams, with a hope to help highlight the skills and roles required to build a digital and data specialised workforce.
The authors used a set of methodological steps to develop scenarios describing what the future could hold for this part of the workforce, and explored a workforce demand-forecasting exercise to understand what job functions and skill areas might increase or decrease in demand.
Focusing on data architecture, technical infrastructure, application and organisational transformation functional areas, the analysis highlights +69% growth in workforce required, from 46,009 to 77,923.
An alternative scenario, called the ‘Data Desert Future’, was also used in the exercise to obtain estimates of workforce demand where there has been a cautious and cost-conscious approach in the development of digital technology in the NHS.
The main findings from the demand-forecasting exercise has led to a number of recommendations to support the HEE Digital Readiness programme and to help put in place the mechanisms to bridge any gaps.
The report highlights: “Investments in the NHS digital workforce will need to be made if the NHS is to realise its ambitions around digital transformation. The salary and employment on-costs for the workforce of 46,000 WTEs in 2020 is estimated to be around £2.05 billion. If this workforce is to increase to a projected size of 78,000 WTEs in 2030 and its composition remains the same, the costs will be around £5.2 billion.”
The recommendations in the report fall under three categories;
- The digital transformation and data driven ambitions of the NHS will have an effect on the digital workforce in terms of its required capacity and capability.
- There is a need to implement system-wide terminology and job architecture that reflects advances in technology. For example: AI, machine learning, and the use of genomic data, with the associated need for highly skilled and specialist staff in professional, managerial and senior leadership roles.
- There is an urgent need for clearly defined career pathways mapped to skill levels in an agreed framework, and to ensure there is an established professional ‘home’ for these people.