Role of digital in transforming health and care the focus of major Together We’re Better conference

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The critical role that digital innovation and technology will play in the transformation of health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent was highlighted at a regional conference hosted by Together We’re Better.

Health and care professionals from across the area attended the first Together We’re Better Digital Conference to learn more about how digital can and is being utilised to enhance services and improve peoples’ lives.

The event was hosted by Together We're Better's Digital Programme and chaired by senior responsible officer for the programme, Caroline Donovan. It featured a number of digital health and care experts, who shared their wide-ranging knowledge of digital innovation; including:

  • Paul Charnley, Director of I.T. and Information at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who spoke about how digital is delivering change as part of the Healthy Wirral initiative;
  • Deborah El-Sayed, Executive Director of Transformation at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester Clinical Commissioning Group, who spoke about the Bristol Connecting Care digital care record system;
  • Adrian Byrne, Chief Information Officer at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, who spoke about the work of the Hampshire Health Record; and
  • Richard Corbridge, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, who spoke about the Leeds Digital Way to deliver an electronic health and care record system.

The conference also included an introductory video from Together We’re Better’s (TWB) Independent Chairman Sir Neil McKay, and a presentation from TWB Director Simon Whitehouse on the ambitions for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to become a national leader in the way digital technology is used to transform health and care services and enhance the skills of the local workforce.

In addition, Dr Paddy Hannigan, Joint Chief Clinical Information Officer for TWB’s Digital Programme, presented “A Digital Design for Life” which outlined TWB’s future vision for using digital technology to transform and improve local clinical services.

This includes delivering Your Care Connected, a project that will allow NHS and local government organisations across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to share information securely and confidentially – meaning patients will no longer have to repeat information to different health and care professionals and avoid having to undergo unnecessary duplication of tests.

Health and care professionals will, for the first time, be able to access an individual’s record wherever they are based as well as eventually allowing people to have greater control of their care by enabling them to view their patient record online,

The second half featured an in-depth discussion among health and care professionals on the digital priorities and opportunities for each of Together We’re Better’s programmes; the outcomes of which were shared and will help to develop TWB’s digital plans.

“Digital technology, such as smartphones and tablets is here to stay and it’s down to us to ensure we’re at the forefront of utilising that technology to its fullest to help people live as healthily as possible,” said Simon Whitehouse.

“We’re determined that Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent becomes a national leader in the use of digital. In order for us to do that, though, we need to ensure we’re developing the skills of our workforce and empowering them to come forward with their own ideas to innovate further.”

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