NHS Scotland’s chief data officer on the “transformative power of data and AI”

NHS Scotland’s chief data officer Albert King has shared insights into Scotland’s ambitions and potential for digital and data across health and care, highlighting Scotland’s “pioneering approach to data and AI in healthcare”, as well as its partnerships with global consultancies and technology companies in demonstrating its “progressive and advanced” status on the global health landscape.

He notes that NHS Scotland plays a key role in bringing together data from across the Scottish health system, using Seer2 in consolidating a variety of data sets, and enabling users to unlock “critical and actionable insights that can support operational improvements and patient outcomes”.

King also draws attention to some of the key benefits expected to arise from Scotland’s approach to data-driven decision-making. He refers to optimisation of resources as “one of the most significant opportunities” presented by data in healthcare and comments that predictive analysis can help Scotland to “model the impact of policy interventions or events on the healthcare system”, anticipating policy outcomes or enhancing preparedness for events like pandemics.

Ultimately, King states that “the goal is to free up valuable time for healthcare professionals from paperwork or outdated systems and to focus on clinical expertise and compassionate care”. The Cancer Medicines Outcomes Programme in Scotland, for example, has used the linking of national datasets with prescribing data to support delivery of “more personalised and effective care”.

King says: “As we look to the future of healthcare, Scotland’s model of data-driven decision-making serves as a beacon of innovation and a testament to the transformative power of data and AI. The world can learn from Scotland’s journey and embrace the potential of data to create better health and social care systems, deliver more effective services, and ultimately, save lives.”

Also from Scotland, the Scottish Government recently published this year’s winter preparedness plan for health and social care, with a number of priorities set out around helping people receive care from home; ensuring consistent messaging for the public and staff; recruitment, retention and wellbeing; maximising capacity and maintaining integrated services; supporting safe delivery of care; working in partnership; and protecting planned care.

In addition, last week we heard how Healthcare Improvement Scotland shared news of a new app-based service designed to support clinical care and decision-making.