Health Secretary announces technology vision for the health and care sector

Using technology, digital and data within health and care to meet the needs of all users.

Matt Hancock has launched his new technology vision making IT a central focus of the reforms he wants to introduce across the health and social care sector.

The Future of Healthcare policy document promises to transform the sector that is increasingly struggling with the need to do more with less funding.

Providers and commissioners up and down the country are looking for opportunities to use technologies to improve the quality, efficiency and patient experience as well as supporting more integrated care and improving the health of a population.

Taking digital change forward

At the heart of the Secretary of State’s vision are four guiding principles that the system should operate by:

  • User need
  • Privacy and security
  • Interoperability and openness
  • Inclusion

The Department of Health and Social Care’s vision is very much about putting user needs first and setting standards at the centre to enable organisations at a local level to manage their use of technology and spread and support innovation.

To allow digital change to gain momentum, the document recognises the need to get the digital architecture of the health and care system - the “building blocks” - right. Six architectural principles have been identified from adopting the best cyber security standards to internet standards and protocols.

Despite the many challenges to overcome, the document calls on patients, service users, carers and the wider health and care system to unite around the tech vision to drive this forward –  to harness innovation in the full spectrum “from the most mundane to the most exciting, from basic IT to advanced AI”.

The policy document is for discussion. Innovators and suppliers of digital technology, health and care providers and other organisations in the sector are invited to submit comments by completing the questionnaire.

Matt Hancock’s quote neatly encapsulates one of his self-described missions:

“I want all parts of the NHS to improve their technology and I want a culture of continuous improvement and agile iterative development to take hold”.

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