Health IT leaders meet to progress Five Year Forward View

"Innovation means identifying and applying solutions to existing problems in health and care."

General agreement reached that all sectors need to work closer together to expedite change, by learning from past errors.

[London, UK] Implementation of the Five Year Forward View was the main theme of the UK e-Health Week Roundtable this week that brought together health leaders from both the private and public sector.

The discussion, which included influential figures such as Beverley Bryant, Director of Digital Technology; Jane Barnacle, Director of Patients and Information, London; Jane Dwelly, Head of Health and Care Innovation and Susan Aitkenhead, Head of Nursing at NHS England focused on two priority areas: the “back office” of joining up systems by making them paperless and the “front office” of enabling citizens and patients to be more in control of their care. During the discussions there was a clear consensus that now was the time to stop the talking and  instead work on making it happen on the ground.

Plans to develop a standards based information sharing initiative in London were discussed, as well as the importance of front line staff capturing data and looking for unwarranted variations. Upcoming developments in primary care looked promising and the potential of the new health systems that are starting to emerge through devolution and STPs were welcomed.

Jane Dwelly, Head of Health and Care Innovation, NHS England said: “Innovation means identifying and applying solutions to existing problems in health and care. These must bring about lasting benefits to patients and add value: by improving efficiency, enhancing population health and enabling high quality care.

“Sharpening the focus on the informatics and technologies that are supporting truly transformational change in the way we plan and pay for health and care services is imperative as is using digital tools to underpin immediate plans to bring the NHS into financial balance and, at the same time, setting up new and enduring systems for delivering care.”

The discussion also highlighted the importance of common APIs and standards for interoperability, although there was agreement that these must be practical and relevant. There was support for this approach from the private sector leaders such as MedeAnalytics, AGFA, InterSystems, Lexmark and Imprivata.

It was recognised that the collection, access and analysis of data is critical in speeding up the pace of transformation with the Health and Social Care Information Centre, Tech UK and the British Computer Society echoing this view.

Stephen Lieber, President of HIMSS, who gave his view from a global perspective added: “Patients are the same around the world and so it follows that there are some global issues for all health care systems. First, there is the question of infrastructure, the individual healthcare system. Understanding the gaps in each system allows us to take a view on what condition it is in.

“Secondly, there is data. The clinical application of technologies and data is the next step we must all take. These are not top-down IT projects; but clinical projects that all involve technology. Finally, there is professional education. We need to build a case for clinicians to be advocates of IT and technology in all healthcare settings.”

There was general agreement that all sectors needed to work closer together to accelerate change but it needed to be done in a smart and practical way by learning from and not repeating the mistakes from the past.

All members of the Roundtable will continue the discussion at UK e-Health Week at Olympia on the 19th and 20th April.  Details of the UK e-Health Week Roundtable will be written up in a special supplement jointly published by Commissioning Journal and GM and available in the British Journal of Healthcare Computing in April.