Speaking the Leeds language at the Leeds Digital Festival

Steve Lloyd-Smart

3f24dbcAlastair Cartwright, Chief Information Officer for the Leeds clinical commissioning groups and programme director for the city-digital health and care plan, is running a session on  citizen focused health – how we are doing it and the opportunities for business at the Leeds Digital Festival on Wednesday 26th April 2017 at 9:30am to 12:00pm.

In advance of the event, Alastair shares some of his thoughts on the theme of citizen focused health:

“I have worked within the information and technology arena within the NHS for over 30 years. This has included hospital technology, general practice technology and latterly city-wide and regional technology, covering both health and social care. In this time, the concept of digital has exploded and it now surrounds us.  We can’t go through a day, on a personal or professional basis, without some aspect of digital technology influencing how we do what we do.  

In Leeds, we have a well-established blueprint to deliver technology which will improve health and care across the city.  The blueprint has two key strands – one is to deliver technology to assist professionals to help citizens, the other is technology to help citizens to both look after themselves better and to help people interface more effectively with health and care professionals. 

Large public sector organisations have struggled to be agile enough to respond to the demands of the pace and challenges of digital technology and I have seen this to be the case within both the NHS and Leeds City Council.

We are therefore actively targeting small and medium enterprises (SME’s) to help them to understand our blueprint and, importantly, how they can work with us. We know that SME’s are often more flexible and agile than some aspects of the public sector, not necessarily because they have more skills or experience but because of their structures, attitude towards risk and ability to deploy at pace.  

One of the things that we are trying to do is to describe the issues and problems that we are facing in health and care, knowing that, within Leeds, there are innovators and entrepreneurs who will be able to develop digital technology solutions.  

As we began this process, it became clear that although there was, and is, a great deal of interest and enthusiasm about our blueprint, the language of the NHS can often create its own barriers.  We talk in code and acronyms that not everyone understands.  We’re therefore developing a glossary of terms and concepts which we hope will open up the possibilities of digital transformation of health and care in Leeds to even more SME’s.

Opaque language is also an issue for patients and citizens and we hope that this glossary will be helpful for a wider audience too. The co-production of digital solutions with our communities is central to our approach.  We recognise the absolute value of involving service users with the development of technology that will transform their lives.  This sense of ownership and participation means that people are much more likely to engage with and take responsibility for their own health.

There are many great examples of co-production in Leeds, including the Leeds City Lab and the Co-production network and we are taking learning from these back into the work that we do.

We know that there is no one person, no one organisation, that has the answers to solve the challenges faced by health and care but we do know, that by working across the whole of the city, and across all sectors, we are far more likely to develop digital solutions that deliver tangible results for the people of Leeds”.

You can book a place at the event here

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