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.

Digital Futures – Innovating and Enhancing Our Digital Nation

Priority five: Our wellbeing and economy benefits as Scotland remains at the heart of digital innovation and development.

Advances in technology, and the growth in its use, means we need a constant focus on what is coming next. Scotland is well placed to support the development, design, testing and – ultimately – the adoption of new technology. This ranges from advances in artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), through to the apps, tools and products that we increasingly use in our everyday lives, such as smart connected devices in the home and the ever more powerful devices in our pockets.

How we work with and influence some of these important developments in technology will be key to ensuring that they put public wellbeing at their core. This will rely upon shared knowledge, expertise and understanding across a wide range of sectors. Scotland's Innovation Centres will play a key role, whilst continued knowledge exchange and international collaboration can help us embrace new technologies that support our workforce, our people and our wider strategic ambitions.

Timeline of the industrial revolution, commencing 1784 to present day, showing the progress made from mechanisation, to mass production, to automation to the digital age and the Internet of Things.

Graphic Text below:


Industry 1.0

  • Mechanization
  • Steam power
  • Weaving loom


Industry 2.0

  • Mass production
  • Assembly line
  • Electrical energy


Industry 3.0

  • Automation
  • Computers
  • Electronics


Industry 4.0

  • Cyber physical systems
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Networks

We will seek to maximise opportunities for a pipeline of innovation through supporting the adoption and scaling up of initiatives that have the potential to reduce the already heavy burden on our workforce. This will also create new jobs and roles of tomorrow and strengthen how people interact and engage with health and care services. In keeping with our focus on getting it right for people and challenging inequalities, we will be mindful of the potential inherent biases being embedded in technology, whilst being rightly excited by the potential of advances in areas such as the use of AI to support fast diagnosis and prognosis for a growing range of illnesses.

Our Commitments:

We will:

  • Continue to place Scotland at the heart of international digital health and care business development with successful collaborative bids for UK, European and International funding opportunities to drive innovation locally and globally.
  • Work with organisations including DHI and other Innovation Centres, 5G Centre, Centre for Cyber Resilience, Centre for Sustainable Delivery, and Public Health Scotland to realise the potential of digital health and care.
  • Enhance our industry networks and clusters, collaborating to support our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be innovative and offering a clear product route from development to implementation at scale.
  • Provide a permanent digital testing environment that allows potential new technology to be developed and tested in a safe environment, whilst providing greater opportunity for success.
  • Provide an assurance process to ensure digital innovations are developed in an ethical, standards-based way.
  • Promote and facilitate appropriate, safe and secure access to clinical, biomedical, care and other data for approved research, development and innovation in the public interest.



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