News, NHS trust

Great Western Hospitals digital strategy places focus on access, infrastructure, applications, information and digital literacy

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has published its seven-year Digital Strategic Plan, which focuses on the five priority areas of access, infrastructure, applications, information and digital literacy and sets a vision to help improve the trust’s digital maturity.

The strategy’s vision is linked with the delivery of the trust’s strategy and digital vision, which is to “maximise and expand the improvements available from the use of technology and information, enabling joined up services for our local people across care settings and organisational boundaries, improving people’s experience of using our systems”.

Principles and priorities

As a basis, the strategy sets out that “all activities undertaken to deliver the digital vision must comply with eight digital underlying principles”. These principles include user-centric design, collaboration and partnership working, high data quality, “Do Once Share Many”, intelligent use of information, maximising system functionality, emergent technology opportunities, and system and data security.

On the first priority area, which covers access and mobility, the trust’s expected deliverables include improved speed of application access through Single Sign On and virtual desktop capabilities, “resilient, consistent and fast access to applications from any location”, and access for staff to “fit for purpose unified communications solutions” with guidance provided on use.

In infrastructure and security, the plan defines expected deliverables including making all trust devices Windows 11 compatible, removing unsupported technologies, adopting the cyber 10-step framework, and introducing Multi-Factor Authentication.

For applications, expected deliverables include implementing a new shared EPR with optimised pathways and workflows, enhanced image sharing, maximised investments in RPA and AI, improved user experience, and achieving a minimum of HIMSS level 5 maturity.

The final two priority areas, use of information and digital literacy, support and training, the strategy sets out expected deliverables including developing a single place for data, providing access to expertise such as modelling and predictive analysis for all divisions, putting in place a Digital Improvement Network, providing staff access to training and support on digital systems, and requiring all staff to pass a basic digital skills competency assessment.

Actions and delivery

As part of delivering the strategic plan, the trust outlines three “main dependencies” which will require progress: engagement and leadership, digital team capability and capacity, and strong governance and programme management.

Actions to be taken under engagement and leadership include developing a digital improvement network, identifying and upskilling digital champions and superusers, introducing a “service level agreement” and relevant key performance indicators to help staff understand what to expect from digital teams, implementing a digital communication plan, and ensuring leadership champion and empower staff to engage with programmes within the Digital Literacy, Support and Training priority.

On digital team capability and capacity, actions to be taken include undertaking an annual training needs analysis within the digital team, developing partnerships with third party suppliers where capability or capacity gaps exist, and creating single ICS teams for predictive analysis and modelling.

Finally, on strong governance and programme management, actions to be taken include the creation of a single entry point for requests for programme and change resources, the alignment of Programme and Improving Together governance, and the ongoing involvement of the Digital Steering Group in assuring programme delivery and “consideration of how emerging technologies/programs align with this Digital Strategic Plan”.

To read the trust’s Digital Strategic Plan 2023-2030 in full, please click here.

In related news on digital strategy, recent board papers from Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust revolve around ‘Project Fusion’, which will see a number of their services brought together under a new trust; including plans to develop an EPR roadmap and priority areas of focus for digital.

Elsewhere, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (CNTW) NHS Foundation Trust has published its new digital strategy, highlighting priorities around utilising technology to improve core clinical systems, empowering patients, advancing the use of information, promoting seamless system-wide working, improving efficiency, and developing safe and secure systems.