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South West London ICB board highlights progress and plans on updating the ICB’s digital offer and improving digital pathways

South West London ICB’s most recent board meeting was conducted virtually this month, as a result of industrial action. Amongst other areas, board members discussed the need to transform access to services, including a digital offer and improved digital pathways across the ICB.

One of the first topics on the agenda was the 2023-2025 South West London NHS Green Plan, which was signed off at the end of May 2023 with an agreement for six monthly updates. One of the key areas highlighted for progress was the £500,000 awarded for innovative developments in sustainability, which has led to the pilot of two SMART theatres at St George’s Hospital. According to the meeting minutes, this funding “links estates and digital transformation with our green plan objectives”.

Another highlight was digital transformation, with plans for the ICB to “utilise technology to streamline health and care, whilst reducing its associated cost and carbon emissions”. Some of the key progress measures include the move to paperless staff parking at ESHT, and the securing of additional funding from the Frontline Digitisation programme, “notably to support the implementation of a new electronic patient record at ESHT”. For 2024/2025, the ICB plans to continue working towards reducing reliance on paper, and adding “newer and smarter ways of working” that reduce dependency on estate and travel.

In urgent and emergency care, the agenda sets out planned actions to deliver a new regional digital investment programme “to support roll out of e-triage at the ED front door, and automated data-transfer on ambulance handover being explored”.

Under mental health services, planned early intervention in psychosis includes SWL and St George’s reviewing their referral process and “exploring a digital solution to initiate an alert in their electronic patient record”.

The agenda states that “the focus on the potential of digitisation is also welcome, both as system and service wide priorities as set out in the ICBs digital investment plan; and as key elements of individual initiatives”.

John Byrne presented an update on ICS Digital, recognising that “digital was a significant priority moving forward”, and the need to continue to work on avoiding digital exclusion. Sara Milocco noted that she would like to see “the voluntary sector more strategically embedded in the plans for digital innovation and that that the voluntary sector could play a substantial role in empowering communities”. Actions for the future include bringing reports on ICS Digital back to the board.

Under “sharing our learning for virtual wards”, the agenda refers to SWL’s four virtual wards covering the six ICB boroughs and supporting “patients who would otherwise need in-patient hospital beds”, which had meant patients being able to be discharged earlier, as well as preventing unnecessary admissions, “meaning patients can recover at home on a virtual ward”.

On the SWL ICS Digital Pioneer Fellowship programme, updates included a partnership with the Health Innovation Network to “encourage innovation, enhance digital leadership skills, facilitate health and care transformation and establish a supportive and collaborative network throughout South West London”.

In other news from the region, a new mental health strategy for South West London ICB has been released, highlighting plans to utilise digital tools and services to meet the needs of local communities and “better co-ordinate digital initiatives across the ICS to ensure a joined-up approach”.

Elsewhere, NHS England’s board meeting in May included a focus on technology and innovation, with an overview of the “greatest opportunities for the NHS in the future”.

To read the board meeting pack in full, please click here.