NHS England has published data regarding self-reported digital maturity measures for 239 NHS trusts.
The process of digital digital maturity is intended to ensure that the NHS acts in a more joined-up fashion in terms of its technological structure and performance.
Commenting on the information acquired from the reporting, Paul Rice, head of technology strategy at NHS England, indicated that “the data published is self-assessment from 239 NHS trusts on their judgement of their readiness to exploit digital technologies. It details their view of whether the have the capability to exploit and highlights how far have got.”
Rice believes that the overall impression of the attempt for the NHS to achieve digital maturity can reasonably be described as mixed.
“The high level summary on digital maturity is good, but with opportunities to improve,” Rice said. “However, the picture is quite good on access to care records, but the picture is less good on access to e-prescribing,” added Rice.
The Digital Maturity Index is intended to be an assessment of the efficacy with which trusts across the NHS are responding to digital challenges and demands.
But the overarching NHS England has indicated that the Digital Maturity Index is not intended to be a league table of performance.
Perhaps this statement is indicative of the gulf in the achievement across the NHS as a whole.
Rice observed that “some organisations are doing extremely well, and optimising the opportunity to use digital; others are more variable; while some orgs are struggling in all aspects, and what they’ve done is candidly identify themselves to us – so we can help them begin to improve.”
NHS England says the digital maturity measures are primarily a self-help tool that will enable trusts to understand how they are doing and inform their future planning.
However, the data released by NHS England indicates that such organisations as Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and London Ambulance Service NHS Trust are struggling to achieve the digital transition seamlessly.
The aforementioned Rice also indicated that there is some confusion across NHS trusts regarding how some of the funding for this digital maturity process will be implemented going forward.
“We don’t have fine detail on that yet. It will be linked to local digital roadmaps and linked to STPs. Over summer we will validate those plans and early part of autumn will make announcements about investments.”
Nonetheless, despite the uneven performance across the health service, NHS England has been at pains to point out that regional priorities with regard to the digital transition will continue to be led locally.