Publication - Strategy/plan

Digital health and care strategy

Published: 27 Oct 2021

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.

Digital health and care strategy
Background

Background

Our Vision: 'To improve the care and wellbeing of people in Scotland by making best use of digital technologies in the design and delivery of services.'

Scotland's 2018 Digital Health and Care Strategy recognised the transformative potential of technology and set out an ambitious strategic direction to embrace the opportunities that it presents. The response to Covid-19 was facilitated by the work undertaken as part of it.

The pandemic, and our response to it, has accelerated the pace of digital transformation, whist highlighting the challenges faced by people who find themselves excluded from the digital world. It also highlighted some of the gaps that existed within it, most notably around inclusion, equalities, ethics and data. It is for these reasons that we set out to refresh our Digital Health and Care Strategy for Scotland, building on the progress that has been made to date, whilst taking account of the opportunities and challenges brought about by the changed landscape that we now live in.

People should have the opportunity to access technology, understand its benefits and limitations, develop the skills they need and have control over how their personal information is used. To do this, we must tackle digital exclusion and support the development of skills. Furthermore, people across Scotland need to be involved at every stage of the innovation, design and delivery process. Experience tells us that the best services and initiatives, and those most used, are those which have been designed and developed in this inclusive way.

A person-centred approach to digital health and care is also one that promotes choice.

Choice for citizens means digital and non-digital options offered in parallel, on an equal footing. People will not be forced to use a digital service if it is not right for them, but it will be made available to those who want it.

We also recognise that digital transformation in health and social care has implications beyond Scotland's health and wellbeing ambitions. Digital technologies can ensure that care is delivered in a way, place and time that works best for people, furthering our ambitions to support personal and community-led decision making.

As such, the strategy supports the aims of the NHS recovery plan (NHS Recovery Plan - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)) in its ambition to address the backlog in care and meet ongoing healthcare needs for people across Scotland. It will support reform of the care system, including better integration of health and care services. It outlines the health and care contribution to the overarching Digital Strategy (A changing nation: how Scotland will thrive in a digital world - gov.scot www.gov.scot).

Digital technology can also contribute to our efforts to address the climate change crisis for example by, reducing travel to appointments and reducing our reliance on large data warehouses via our commitment to rolling out cloud infrastructure. We are committed to developing and embedding a culture which takes into account how we can positively impact on climate change through our project developments, procurement processes and equipment life span.

This refreshed strategy also provides the framework for the development of Scotland's first Data Strategy for Health and Social Care. The Data Strategy will ensure that health and care data supports the delivery of health and care services and that it does so in a way that empowers citizens and supports innovation and research. This refreshed Strategy is also set within the wider context set out by the Digital Strategy for Scotland: it acts as a support to it and confirms how our health and care services will adopt and embed its principles and approaches.

This refreshed Digital Health and Care Strategy will be accompanied by a rolling three-year delivery plan, updated each year from April 2022, which will provide the detailed map for our journey towards realising the ambition of this strategy. It will outline the 'how', 'what', 'who' and 'when' of the high-level commitments outlined in this document.

The delivery of this strategy will be a collective effort across health and care partners working in the statutory, third, innovation, academic and private sectors. This strategy was developed in consultation and collaboration with these partners and our thanks go to all who contributed.


Contact

Email: Nel.Whiting@gov.scot