Right policies needed for interoperability to take place

UK’s healthcare needs to be “cautiously optimistic” in terms of ICS, but also recognize that individual trusts have their own missions, David Norton, senior lead innovation consultant at Royal Free London Foundation Trust said at the ‘Digitalisation of Hospitalisation’ panel of LSX World Conference 2022.

Today, all parts of England are covered by one of 42 ICSs, a key part of the future direction for the NHS as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. However, there has been much debate recently about what ICS look like in practice.

Norton explained that the current system allows the sector to learn how to undertake a systems initiative in terms of the governance processes, and to use digital correctly in terms of inequality. But he warned that this comes with a “massive risk”.

“We need the right policies to make sure interoperability has taken place on the ground,” he said. “ICS is a system of systems. What we’re doing is bringing information together. So, there must be collaboration and knowledge about the flow of information. And there need to be the right policies in place so that information can flow.

“One of the things we are looking at in terms of innovation is how we embed security and governance into our innovation process.”

Norton continued: “Even though there are systems out there that have saved lives, they may not be the best in terms of technical debt and security. We need a lightweight, agile approach to information governance and security. We should learn from the pandemic and identify those practices that we should put back in because they keep patients and ourselves safe.”

Date published: May 13, 2022

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