Scotland’s digital health and care delivery plan focuses on access, data, leadership and more

The Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities have published their digital health and care strategy delivery plan for 2023-24, setting out core aims to give citizens better control over and access to their data; to help staff to record and share information across the system; and to provide researchers, planners and innovators with access to the data they need to improve efficiency and develop new ways of working.

The plan is split into seven digital key areas: access, services, foundations, skills, leaderships, innovation, and data and insights.

In terms of digital access, the plan sets the priority that “people have digital access to information, their own data and services which support their health and wellbeing, wherever they are”. Deliverables include improved access to health and care services through a digital inclusion programme led by the Scottish Government Digital Health and Care Directorate and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations; expansion of capabilities of resources, advice and guidance through NHS Inform; and a plan outlining the capability and functions of a fully interactive digital front door.

Under digital services, the priority is to make digital options “increasingly available” for patients and staff. This includes deliverables such as the scaling up of Connect Me remote health monitoring and self-management; the development of the Digital Hospital @ Home initiative; and the delivery of new digital products and solutions within social care.

The priority for digital foundations is to ensure that the infrastructure, systems, regulations, standards and governance are in place “to ensure robust and secure delivery”. Deliverables here include the implementation of a new GP IT system across all Health Boards by 2026 – moving to a single cloud-hosted solution; a new secure public sector network service via the Scottish Wide Area Network; and digital prescribing and dispensing for GPs.

For digital skills and leadership, the priority is that digital skills should be seen as core skills for the workforce. Deliverables include the provision of a Leading Digital Transformation in Health and Care MSc for 50 people per year; a refreshed programme supporting digital data leadership and skills for specific staff groups and career stages; and the development of a specialist digital, data and technology workforce.

With regards to innovation and development, the plan highlights priority to ensure that “our wellbeing and economy benefits as Scotland remains at the heart of digital innovation and development”. Planned actions include opening opportunities for knowledge exchange, funding and collaboration with international stakeholders; the delivery of data tools to improve and automate theatre scheduling; and a national approach to “the ethical, transparent consideration of adoption and implementation of AI based tools, products and services”.

Finally, under data-driven services and insights, the priority is to harness the benefits of data for citizens, services and innovation. In this area, deliverables include the improved collection and quality of ethnicity data to support equitable care; a data delivery plan setting out priorities based on the Health and Social Care Data Strategy; and a national approach to information governance including an information governance competency framework and information governance maturity assessment pilots.

In other news from Scotland, earlier this month we covered now NHS National Services Scotland is launching a digital image capture, referral and integration framework; in June, we highlighted how NHS National Services Scotland, the University of Strathclyde and Scotland Excel were seeking to establish a dynamic purchasing system for digital co-managed care services.

Also in June, we shared the Scottish Government’s cancer strategy and highlighted key points and implications for the role of digital in tackling cancer.

To read the Scottish Government’s delivery plan in full, please click here.