Digital health and care strategy

Refreshed strategy which sets out how we will work together to improve the care and wellbeing of people in Scotland by making best use of digital technologies in the design and delivery of services, in a way, place and time that works best for them.

From Strategy to Delivery

A key requirement of the 2018 Strategy was to establish a national leadership structure to support the roll-out of the strategy and ensure it achieved its aims. This is now in place, and overall delivery of this strategy is directed by a national decision making board made up of executive representatives of the Scottish Government, Local Government and the NHS – the Digital Health and Care Strategic Portfolio Board – who identify and agree the priorities for development and improvement. This Board is supported by a cross-sector Digital Citizen Delivery Board, a Data Board, and an Enabling Technology Board, with external independent critique and challenge provided by an Equalities and Inclusion Group for Digital Health and Care. It is intended that all national digital developments and proposals for health and care will go through this governance structure, which will also provide technical and design assurance.

We will transform our culture and the way we work through digital thinking, with its emphasis on openness, networking and agility. Trust, transparency and collaboration, in line with our Open Government ambitions, are also essential to this.

This strategy will go further than our 2018 Strategy by introducing a rolling three-year delivery plan, updated each year from April 2022, recognising that the transformation required is rooted in the 'how', and not the 'what' or the 'why'. This delivery plan will confirm what our priorities for delivery are, what outcomes are expected to be achieved, who has been tasked with delivery, what budget has been allocated to the work and how success will be measured. It will be developed alongside a clear approach to commissioning and benefits realisation. It will outline in detail which parts of this strategy will be achieved at local, regional and national level.

We will need digital solutions as we begin to recover and rebuild as a society post pandemic. We have to address long-standing issues such as an ageing population, stalling healthy life expectancy, persisting health inequalities and a drugs death crisis. Additionally, as a result of Covid-19 there are additional mental health challenges, long-Covid and the population health impact of the treatment backlog. We will not meet these challenges without digital being part of the solution. As can be seen throughout this refreshed strategy, the rapid – and unexpected – growth in digital technology has led to a desire to do much more, including moving towards a more overt 'digital choice' approach to the design and delivery of public services.

Successful delivery of this strategy has the potential to provide greater choice and control for people in how they are able to access services, and manage their lives, but also represents a need for a fundamental shift in organisational mind-sets and approaches to how services are delivered.

People want and expect their services to join up and 'speak' to each other and it is important that we break down the barriers which hinder this integration. Also, while health and care support takes place in a variety of health settings it also takes place in the community, in people's homes or in places like libraries and community hubs. This refreshed strategy recognises this as we plan the services of the future.



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