The following declaration was collectively developed by members of the Digital Health Networks during Summer Schools 2023, University Birmingham, and provides the framework of priorities for the Networks for the next five years.
The Digital Health Networks believe that improved use of digital and data is vital to the future success of the NHS and can only be achieved through:
- Improved and increased digital leadership across the whole NHS.
- National digital policy driven from and informed by the needs and challenges of the front line.
- A digitally mature and skilled NHS workforce able to exploit, discover and embrace new services underpinned by digital and data creatively and collaboratively.
We believe that the Digital Health Networks, an independent grass roots community linking local NHS digital leaders, can play a vital role in supporting the achievement of the digital ambitions of the NHS, by working with national bodies and supporting best practice locally.
The elected representatives of the Networks, after consultation with members at Summer School 2023, commit the Networks to driving change and improvement in three core areas:
- Digital Leadership
- National Engagement
- Innovation and Research
The Networks believe digital leadership is vital to the future success of the NHS and will work to enhance the leadership skills of our digital leaders, increase the diversity of our leaders, and encourage and support the leaders of the future. To do this we commit to:
- Provide mutual support to other Network members.
- Create and deliver effective mentoring programmes across the Networks.
- Share our leadership stories, successes, best practice, and learnings.
- Partner with networks that support equality, diversity and inclusion.
- Advocate for a range of senior digital representation to inform NHS board decisions.
- Advocate digital and data as underpinning health service modernisation and reform.
The Networks will work to articulate the views, concerns and challenges of local NHS IT leaders and believe that increased, early engagement between policy makers and front-line leaders will deliver improved outcomes for patients. To support this, we commit to:
- Constructive and regular engagement with national digital leaders
- An approach that recognises the confidential nature of those engagements, especially early in the process
- Formally document the position of the Networks in relation to policy announcements
The Networks believe that digitally supported innovation and research is critical to address many of the challenges facing the NHS. To support NHS organisations and suppliers in the innovation and research areas the networks will:
- Engage with national workforce development programmes to advocate for the inclusion of innovation, research, and entrepreneurship skills in those programmes.
- Share best practice of local and regional programmes of workforce development including these skills.
- Encourage and develop case studies of innovation, research, and innovative uses of technology to share across the networks and more widely.
- Encourage members to write for publication in professional and peer reviewed journals to improve the evidence base for digital health.
- Working with Digital Health, provide platforms for innovative ideas to be shared and exchanged.
Three fundamental principles will underpin and inform the work and conduct of the Networks:
- Digital systems and the data they capture should improve patient safety and never increase risks related to patient harm.
- All data should be managed ethically, with patient consent at the heart of secondary usage.
- All systems should be developed with the user at the centre of the design process.