2. Supporting health and care professionals

5.16. The information technology revolution in the NHS also needs to make it a more satisfying place for our staff to work. At present, too much of the technology in the NHS is a burden on our staff – slow to log in, clunky to use and unreliable in moments of crisis. We will ensure that health and care professionals have the tools they need to efficiently deliver safe and effective patient care, and require vendors to meet usability standards to match those we expect in the rest of our lives. We will enable staff to capture all health and care information digitally at the point of care, and optimise clinical processes to reduce administrative burden. We will support the workforce to develop the digital skills they need to make effective use of these tools and mobile access to digital services to allow health and care workers to work more flexibly.

5.17. Supporting moves towards prevention and support, we will go faster for community-based staff. Over the next three years we want all staff working in the community to have access to mobile digital services, including the patient’s care record and plan, that will help them to perform their role. This will allow them to increase both the amount of time they can spend with patients and the number of patients they can see. Ambulance services will also have access to the digital tools that they need to reduce avoidable conveyance to A&E.

Table 4: Challenges to effective mobile working by community nurses in patient’s homes.

Poor connectivity when in patient’s home 85.1%
Cannot access GP electronic record 56.8%
Limited or no training to use devices 20.8%
Mobile device not compatible with other software 21.1%
Uploading onto systems that do not talk to each other leading to multiple data entry 32.7%

Source: The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI). Nursing in the digital age: Using technology to support patients in the home. 2018.

5.18. We will also invest in enhancing the digital leadership of the NHS by further expanding the successful NHS Digital Academy programme. We will expect informatics leadership representation on the board of every NHS organisation, with chief executives capable of driving the transformation of their organisations and non-executive directors able to support and demand increasing digital maturity over the next five years. We will increase training in digital capabilities for the health and care workforce and focus on attracting excellent technical expertise and skills, particularly in ‘newer’ digital fields so that our workforce can continue to deliver our technology strategy.