A Health and Social Care Digital Service?

Do we need a Health and Social Care Digital Service  in England to offer the public high quality and easily understood information and services relevant to health, well-being, NHS and care services?

A digital service could be underpinned by the principles of greater transparency, more high quality information and activated participation.

I think such a service might include: 

  • Transparency – Directly connect people to transparent information about health and care, and associated services to enable them to make effective decisions about their health and care needs, such as choosing when and where to access care & advice.
  • Transactions – Provide a range of  simple, relevant and timely online services, to enable people to transact their health and care online, such as booking appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions or accessing a care record when they want to.
  • Provide an effective transactional service to deliver system-wide efficiencies enabling services and transactions to be shifted to digital channels, such as ordering repeat prescriptions, advanced symptom checkers and appointment booking services.
  • Participation – Provide a service for participation in individual health, care and third party services, such as managing a long-term condition, for example diabetes, with online tools and communities for peer support and advice
  • Enable people to provide feedback on their experiences of health and care and ensure that they are listened to and their comments acted upon. 
  • Efficiency – Provide opportunities for GPs, hospital clinicians, NHS organisations and 3rd parties to create and exploit new ways of working such as streamlining care pathways, providing lean processes and reducing administration costs.
  • Building the Market – Make available open and accessible interfaces so that third party organisations and developers can access the digital service data and information to create innovative products for consumers to further improve the variety of tools & services available, catching up with many other sectors that have embraced the digital revolution and empowered their customers.
  • Enable small and medium organisations to provide digital service innovation through access to NHS business processes and partners.

Perhaps a digital service could be the clicks to the NHS and social care bricks. It might provide a catalyst for a digital transformation of the way the NHS and care organisations do business.

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