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As part of my new role to support our clients across the health sector I attended the recent annual Healthcare Excellence Through Technology HETT conference I thought I would share my three main takeaways and what it means for CGI and our clients.

Pockets of innovation – the long and “weary” road

Tara Donnelly (NHSX CDO) captured one of the key themes across the conference when she said there wasn’t a problem with innovation within the NHS but a systematic failure to scale. There was a general backdrop over the two days of how we have pockets of innovation across the NHS. On one hand this is great to hear and there is some inspiring work going on that goes against the image of the risk adverse and slow to change NHS. However, on the other hand these innovations tend to stay trapped. There is too much reinventing the wheel and too little focus on ensuring innovation goes to that next stage.

The need to move to delivery was a common theme across many of the talks and there was a recognition of the need to get the basics right and raise the standard across the board, which can be easily lost when innovation grabs the limelight.

Innovation is still vitally important but I sensed a real weariness to it as well and a desire for the support required to see the benefits of innovation spread out across the NHS. I will be highlighting this desire across CGI and seeking ways to ensure our clients can scale out any innovation so more patients feel the benefit.

Intelligent Automation and Robotic Process Automation is happening

RPA has been riding high on the hype scale for a few years now. One of my favourite takeaways from the conference was how there are now a number of great examples of various trusts implementing intelligent automation and RPA. With the chronic skills shortage, for me one of the most important priorities our NHS clients face is how to free up time to focus on the important stuff – such as direct human contact with patients.

I have also seen many transformation projects seeking to streamline processes get bogged down by the need to make changes to the legacy estate. The ability for RPA to quickly deliver value across the current systems is a huge advantage. So to see it take hold and spread was music to my ears. When we run our Strategic Automation Readiness Assessments one of the key benefits we see is this ability to work with the existing systems.

The three Os

Having a background as a developer I have to confess to a long standing love of Open Standards and Open Source. NHSX provided a compelling talk about the importance of the three Os – Open Standards, Open Data and Open Source. Much of my professional career has focused on interoperability and I know first-hand how much we all miss out when data is locked away and inaccessible.

Ensuring we have an eco-system that enables multiple parties, including suppliers, to work together more freely can only be a good thing (obviously within the critical frameworks that ensure safety, privacy and security).

NHSX are not looking to reinvent the wheel or write their own standards but to adopt good practice that already exists. There was a real optimism about the three O’s model to empower and enable across regions the technology we all want to see deliver better healthcare.

So what should we be doing…

Where should we be focusing our time – at CGI I have seen a commitment to open standards and I will be promoting how open standards and open data will enhance our skills and capabilities in both Intelligent Automation and Data Insights. But more importantly I would like to see us help scale innovation and breakout of the cycle of PoCs and pilots. To support the widespread adoption of the technology that will empower the patient and ensure clinicians have the tools that will allow them to focus on the important stuff.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts if you also attended the event or get in touch to discuss further.

About this author

Male and female doctors working on a tablet device

Health Team

Our Health experts are working to address the disparate systems and data which serve as key barriers to improvement and to maintain a high level of service against an increasingly challenging budget.

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