Care in the Digital Age: Delivery Plan 2023-24

The national delivery plan describes activities supporting Health Boards, HSCPs, local authorities, primary care, social care, social work, and care providers to offer new or improved services, whether through improved systems and infrastructure, or access to digital services.

Policy and Priorities Context

Our first Delivery Plan recognised the unprecedented economic upheaval of that period, and the anticipated Winter pressures that required a focus on more immediate priorities. Nevertheless, the Plan confirmed an underlying commitment to activities that make a difference to people using and delivering health and social care services, and the ongoing 'behind the scenes' work supporting real change by the end of 2024. As with the rest of the public sector we have faced continued budgetary pressure and service demand. While we cannot guarantee that increased uncertainty and rising costs will not impact our plans, our ambition and our intentions to deliver on our commitments remain unchanged.

We continue to focus on prioritising work to support existing systems alongside developing key projects that will have a real impact and meet public expectations. We will continue to support the delivery of the digital priorities set out in the Scottish Government's Policy Prospectus, which commits us to continue in 'innovating digitally', and by 2026 providing 'improved outcomes for people' through:

  • Better digital tools: through projects and programmes delivering a variety of better options for staff and public (for example, Near Me video access, Connect Me remote monitoring, digital telecare, the use of NHS inform to improve self-care).
  • Access to personal health information: for example, individuals' access through the Digital Front Door, and professional/staff access through the integrated care record using technology delivered through our wider work. This includes federation of Microsoft Office 365, new GP IT to enhance Multi-Discipline Team working, and the new CHI system.

This overall mission for our health and social care services lines up with the existing vision of 'Care in the Digital Age' to 'improve the care and wellbeing of people in Scotland by making best use of digital technologies in the design and delivery of services.'

A digital approach is much more than just the technology and systems: it is about a cultural shift toward thinking, planning and behaving as digital organisations. In the past year, we have commenced our second Digital Maturity assessment across the NHS and Social Care. This will inform our priorities and funding decisions going forward and for the first time allow us to consider the climate emergency as part of our digital health and care maturity work. We have reinforced our commitment to digital inclusion with the launch of the first £600,000 phase of a £2m Digital Inclusion Programme, initially focusing on mental health and housing. We recognise the need to maintain non-digital options for those who do not wish to participate, and enable availability and access for those who do. We are committed to our shared work and its impact reflecting equalities and Human Rights legislation to ensure inclusive and accessible services for users.

Of the 60 commitments set out in our first Delivery Plan, 53 have been delivered or are on track for delivery. Since we published the Delivery Plan, we have already seen a number of achievements, including:

  • The roll-out of Microsoft Office 365 enables improved communication, collaboration and the sharing of information locally. From implementation across the NHS in 2022, federated access between the NHS and Local Authorities is now live in six Council areas and will be rolled out further this year.
  • In February 2023, we published Scotland's first Data Strategy for health and social care, setting out how the secure and ethical use of data can empower people using and providing services, allow greater access and control for self-management, and deliver insights that support the development of new treatments and services.
  • The Connect Me and Hospital @ Home remote monitoring services continue to expand, supporting people in the home environment and reducing the need to travel to appointments. Some 70,000 people are already supported in this way for hypertension monitoring, increasing each month with over 1,600 people added in March 2023 alone.
  • The Near Me video consulting service continues to develop, providing 440,000 virtual appointments in the last year for those who prefer a remote consultation. Group consultations have grown, with 8,000 sessions in the last year involving over 35,000 participants. The service has been expanded further in local hubs to provide support in community settings and in enabling access in duty social work.
  • There are now 26 digital mental health therapy options for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia with over 65,000 referrals in 2022, increasing access to support and reducing waiting times.
  • A national shared Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) has been commissioned to facilitate the transition of telecare from analogue to digital, opening new opportunities for innovation and resilient services.
  • We have established a 'Once for NHS Scotland' approach to core national incident management and reporting of all Cyber Security programmes through Scotland's Cyber Security Centre of Excellence to protect health and care systems and enhance our response to security threats. This will also drive excellence through continuous improvement, by focusing on key enablement pillars such as centralised security, 24/7 monitoring, threat hunting, incident response, and training and awareness.

As well as the updated deliverables set out in the main document, the Annex sets out some key programmes of work including the integrated health and social care record, embedding Near Me in community health and care services, digital mental health therapies, Connect Me, Hospital at Home and the Digital Front Door, summarising achievements to date and future development.

We thank our delivery partners for their continued work and support, and everyone in Scotland's health and social care sector working to achieve our shared ambitions. We have made considerable progress to date and have established a baseline for future development. By ensuring the correct digital foundations are in place in line with the commitments set out in our Strategy, we will improve the overall experience for everyone who uses health and care services in Scotland.



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