In October, for HTN Now Focus, our online event for Integrated Care Systems, HTN welcomed Dr Mark Dornan, GP and co-chair at Newcastle Gateshead CCG and SRO for Digital Care Programmes at North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS), to the virtual stage.
Dr Dornan shared North East and North Cumbria’s newly published ICS digital strategy, and provided an update on current work-streams, vision and governance work, and a range of digital programmes and approaches.
The presentation started with two patient stories, the first being an example of how digital transformation has changed how a paramedic working night shifts might now engage with health and care services. In the ‘old world’, Dr Dornan highlighted those who work night shifts could “find it difficult to engage with the NHS”. However, now, Dr Dornan explained, “in the new world they can do an e-consult, prescribing treatment can be online, and treatment made available quickly.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Dr Dornan highlighted a story focusing on a patient in a care home, highlighting how district nurses can now use an iPad to hold a video call with a GP, which can lead to faster treatment, with less involvement.
Dr Dornan then went on to discuss the positive factors of adopting digital tools during the pandemic and also how his surgery is managing an increase in demand through a balance of online and face-to-face consultations. He highlighted that, during the past 18 months: “We have shown high potential, not just around the pandemic, but in reducing our carbon footprint, [and] managing a workforce crisis and I would like to say a huge thank you to you all for enabling this and doing amazing things. But we all know the potential goes much further.”
The presentation went on to focus on the ICS’s current work-streams in-flight, including improving population health and preventing ill health. Dr Dornan then shared some of the highlights of its new four-year digital strategy, its utilisation of the NHS App and the local Great North Care Record.
The strategy focuses on citizen and patient choice in the way interactions are offered, ensuring a learning system, empowering citizens, and focusing on self-care. Dr Dornan was keen to highlight their work to upgrade digital infrastructure, and to support providers with less mature digital services so they can integrate with the region’s digital programmes.
Dr Dornan went on to add, “we have spent a lot of time getting our digital governance in place” and “we recognise lots of things have become digital by default”, before then diving into elements of its strategy in greater detail.
The presentation then focused on its primary care work-stream, work around interoperability, digital diagnostics, and specific case studies.
To watch the full session, please see the video recording here: