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Scotland’s new digital health and care strategy published

Scotland has a new Digital Health and Social Care Strategy that sets out how technology can support person-centred care, and sustain and improve services for the future. It highlights progress and challenges to date, and sets out to maximise the opportunities of digital technology to help improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for people in Scotland.

Read the strategy here.

The new strategy has been developed over the past year, and its aims and priorities have been informed by widespread engagement with members of the public and health and social care front-line staff. An independent panel of world-leading UK and international experts was also established to make recommendations to inform the development of the strategy, and was chaired by the acclaimed Professor David Bates of Harvard School of Public Health.  The Strategy has also been informed by the evidence presented to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, which reported earlier this year on technology and innovation in health and social care.

A dedicated website www.digihealthcare.scot explains the Strategy’s approach, supported by case study examples, blogs and video, and stakeholders are asked to follow the Twitter feed @DigiCare4Scot for further information and to keep up to date with developments.

Background Note

The Digital Health and Care Strategy for Scotland sets out six key areas or ‘domains’ of work that will be prioritised in order to achieve the intended benefits of digital technology:

  • National direction – establishing a joint decision-making Board from national and local government and the NHS, supported and advised by industry, academia and the third sector to make national decisions for investment, priorities and policy, and achieve greater consistency, clarity and accountability.
  • Information governance, assurance and cyber security – ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place for the management of data and ensuring consistency in decision-making about sharing data and understanding about data protection requirements.
  • Service transformation – a clear, national approach to service redesign and the scaled up adoption of successful models such as home and mobile health and care monitoring.
  • Workforce capability – recognition that leadership and workforce development in digital skills and capability underpin successful uptake and use of digital technology, with the establishment of a joint approach between NHS Education for Scotland, the Local Government Digital Office (working with COSLA and Integrated Joint Boards) and the Scottish Social Services Council.
  • National digital platform – commitment to the interoperability of systems by developing a national Health and Social Care services digital platform through which real-time data and information from health and care records is available to those who need it, when they need it, wherever they are, in a secure and safe way.
  • Transition process – a recognition of the need to improve and upgrade existing systems to contribute to future developments, with a joint approach required between NHS National Services Scotland and the Local Government Digital Office to ensure that existing systems continue to work effectively.
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