Digital as an enabler in NHS Northamptonshire ICB’s Five-Year Joint Forward Plan 2023-28

Northamptonshire ICB has published its Five-Year Joint Forward Plan, guided by the wider 10-year strategy, which sets out 10 ambitions for everyone in the county to ‘Live Your Best Life’. The plan identifies digital as one of five areas of work which will “deliver the biggest impact” on national and local priorities, with high quality data and digital technologies helping to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities across the ICS.

The plan factors in national priorities outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, including improving the way digital technology is used within health and care services. It lists digital and data as one of six enabling programmes for delivering on objectives, helping to improve innovation, collaboration and the joining-up of services, as well as making it easier to access and meet the needs of the ICSs communities.

Under “creating the conditions for success”, the plan sets out the need to make use of data to gain a better understanding of people in Northamptonshire’s needs, and to design services which can better meet those needs.

The plan also focuses-in on partnership working across the ICS, including engaging with local communities to deliver the best start in life, the opportunity to be “fit, well and independent”, and access to health and social care when needed.

Partnership working and collaboration are also being supported by the roll-out of Northamptonshire’s digital shared health and care record last month, said to with access to shared information, “modernising the way professionals share and access information, at the touch of a button”.

At present, the system holds records from local GP practices across Northamptonshire, as well as Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The shared records will eventually be expanded to incorporate data from other local organisations including social care providers, the community sector, and East Midlands Ambulance Service.

In our industry view from last month, we asked four representatives from integrated care systems for their thoughts on the digital priorities in their region – and what they are looking forward to in the future with regards to digital in health. Kirstie Watson, digital director at Northamptonshire ICB, was among those to share her thoughts and insights.

We also spoke with Matthew Hutton, digital lead for Northamptonshire ICS (Integrated Care Northamptonshire), on the topic of developing data and digital skills in the workforce, for one of our recent HTN Now webinars.