News, Primary Care News

Digital Health and Care Wales 2024-2027 primary care strategy commits to building connectivity and research capability

Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) has published its primary care strategy for 2024-2027, sharing priorities including developing a digital futures team with the intention of shaping technology choices, and enhancing researching and reporting capability.

The strategy is built around four key principles. The first, delivery quality, sees DHCW commit to using “every means to shape, manage and deliver projects to the highest recognised standards” and to utilise resources to create a “best-in-class” approach; to consistently develop and improve the positive impact of digitally-enabled change; and to address shortfalls in consistency and quality across the whole digital portfolio.

Another principle, to inform quality, places emphasis on developing the scope and remit of resources to actively inform policy development; engaging in “meaningful development” of ideas and solutions to existing and future challenges; and to collaborate to ensure that policy is developed “against the richest and most comprehensive data” available.

DHCW also seeks to build value by assessing digital technologies and technical developments and digital competencies “actively and purposefully” in healthcare systems outside Wales; to adopt “off the shelf” products by default and conduct bespoke development only by exception; to share information with all relevant stakeholders to identify areas of potential development; and to proactively source solutions to technical and process issues through generation of innovative ideas and by challenging boundaries.

Around the principle of ‘guide and standardise’, DHCW commits to developing, agreeing and standardising a framework detailing data management and interoperability standards to be adopted across primary care in Wales; to support this adoption process; and to guide compliance against standards as they develop with support for practices.

These principles tie into eight key priorities for DHCW. Around workforce, creating a product, project and programme transition team aiming to work with end users and policy leads to ensure that digital programmes bring value; develop a digital futures team to help shape technology choices; and attend clinical and managerial expert user groups focused on problem solving, in the hopes of better placing DHCW within Wales’ primary care community as a strategic partner.

Other priorities include developing health informatics research and reporting capability to enable access to information and analysis to inform decision making; extending system development capability to support new entrants into the supplier market; focusing development around building in-house connectivity to reduce dependence on third-party suppliers; developing a standards and capability function to support supplier integration, data quality and stakeholder confidence; and agreeing to a mandated process for transition into business-as-usual.

DHCW notes that “structural, operational and cultural change” is required in order to implement the strategy, and adds that moving forwards clear emphasis should be placed on the benefits to be realised and actions to be undertaken to help people “translate strategy to their own context”.

The strategy can be found in full here.

Last month, we reported on DHCW’s draft organisational strategy 2024-2030 which sets out out strategic objectives for digital across health and care, including infrastructure, data platform, open architecture, digital services, innovation and more.

We also covered how DHCW is seeking to procure a medicines information solution and drugs tool at an estimated value of more than £1.4 million.