Digital and data strategy for health and social care in Wales focuses on partnerships, new platforms and digital skills

The Welsh government has published its digital and data strategy for health and social care in Wales, welcoming “the opportunity to respond to challenges” including post-pandemic pressures and increasingly complex comorbidities, by using technology to optimise care provision and drive forward change.

The new strategy follows the government’s 2015 digital strategy for health and social care, to deliver its vision “to help people in Wales to lead happier, healthier and longer lives through user-centred digital services built upon better digital skills, partnerships, data and platforms”.

Core aims of the strategy include transforming digital skills and partnerships, building digital platforms that “meet the needs of Wales”, and focusing on “making services digital-first”.

Delivery plans for the strategy focus on six missions, including developing the digital skills of the workforce, encouraging partnerships with the private sector and academia to strengthen innovation in the digital economy, working on data and collaboration, developing digital infrastructure and connectivity, supporting user-centred services, and focusing on digital inclusion.

There are three core aims, the first to ‘transform digital skills and partnerships’, which emphasises the importance of training and support to create a digital ready workforce, continuing to work with delivery partners to strengthen the digital economy across Wales, and using strategic relationships and partnering platforms to build capacity and capability in the supply chain.

The second aim focuses on ‘building digital platforms fit for Wales’, covering a “comprehensive single digital health and social care record for Wales”, publishing and implementing standards-based rules governing access to this record for different uses, ensuring digital infrastructure can support digital services, and establishing an NHS Wales Data Promise Unit to “assure people in Wales that their data is managed safely and appropriately”.

For the third aim to ‘make services digital first’, it looks at continuing to work with partners to drive innovation particularly in AI and data insights, establishing a register of digital services to help plan a strategic approach and development roadmap, developing digital services to “give people more choice about when, where, and how they access health and social care services”, and providing alternative channels for those who cannot access services digitally.

Recently at HTN we covered the work of Digital Health and Care Wales in supporting inclusion in digital services for both clinicians and patient-users, through its digital inclusion charter and national digital systems usability survey.

We also covered the launch of  Improvement Wales and Health Education’s simulation-based education and training (SBET) strategy that seeks to enhance both current and future workforce skills using the latest simulation-based technologies, and the commitment of Public Health Wales to tackling health inequalities through the launch of a digital platform which offers a “gateway to data, evidence, health economics and modelling, policies, good practice, innovative tools and practical solutions”.

To read the digital and data strategy for health and social care in Wales in full, please click here.