Digital assurance and innovation

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that we (the DH Digital Technology and Strategy team) run a Service Transformation and Standards community designed to bring colleagues involved in digital projects from our Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) together to share expertise, best practice and trouble-shoot issues. Meetings are held every 2-3 months and each session has focussed on a common pain point that DH teams and ALBs have when delivering digital projects. Previous sessions have covered topics such as digital procurement, digital spend controls and hosting, platforms and improving digital assurance.

In our latest session, which took place on 10th October, we provided an update on the work we have been doing to improve our digital assurance process, Kassandra Karpathakis from Public Health England did a show and tell on some great user research she has been doing to improve PHE’s internal digital assurance process and Jess Morley, our resident Tech Adviser, ran an interactive workshop on how as a group, we might unlock the potential of technology for healthcare.

Improving our digital assurance process

In my last Service Transformation and Standards community blog post, I told you about the grand ALB tour that our new Digital Assurance team embarked on to understand the ALB landscape and the complexities of the assurance process from an ALB perspective. Having returned with lots of useful feedback, we identified 5 priority actions for our team.

  1. Develop and share digital project pipeline information across the ALBs
  2. Work with ALBs and DH to understand and improve the end to end approvals processes
  3. Work with ALBs and GDS to understand and implement the newly proposed pipeline assurance process
  4. Develop working groups within the ALB community to promote joint working and to share knowledge and best practice
  5. Develop templates, SLAs, status notifications, best practice and guides to support projects when spend control requests are required

This presentation led by Katie Regan and myself, provided an update on each of these priority areas. Highlights included an introduction to our visual pipeline prototype, which we built in Trello to show all the digital projects taking place across our ALBs and a whistlestop tour of our new Slack community. Both tools were designed to make it quicker and easier for DH and ALBs to showcase good practice, identify opportunities for shared purchasing/licensing, share experiences and learning, spot opportunities for collaboration and achieving shared outcomes and to provide advice and guidance earlier in the assurance process.

We also introduced some interesting work we have been doing to map the entire assurance journey in a visual and shareable way, so that we can capture the pain points and work with our ALBs and others to simplify the process and make it less labour intensive.

We also talked about our upcoming Data Day on 1st November, the first cross health working group to come out of the Service Transformation and Standards community. More to come on both the mapping exercise and Data Day in separate blog posts.

Public Health England’s user research

As part of the work we are currently doing (priorities 2-5) to revise guidance and support for spend controls, we invited Kassandra Karpathakis from Public Health England (PHE) to talk about the work she has been doing to update, improve and simplify the advice, guidance and support for internal teams looking to get digital spend approval and start their digital project. I won’t elaborate on this any further, as you can read all about it in the guest blog post Kassandra has kindly written for us about this piece of work.

Kassandra’s post will form the first in a series of posts as we continue to work with our community to improve the spend controls process.

Technology for healthcare: Unlocking the potential

Against a backdrop of drivers from Personalised health and care 2020, and using some real-world examples backed up by the wisdom of great thinkers like Paracelsus, our Tech Adviser Jess Morley set the scene and provided us with a compelling argument for why we should be digitising the system, connecting all the pieces, making sense of all the data and building tools, systems, organisations, and a culture that takes advantage of these things to actually improve health and healthcare.

Having fired us all up and powered by Poll Everywhere, Jess then led some real-time brainstorming on how as a group we might begin to unlock the potential of technology for healthcare.

The outcomes of this workshop will be fed into our ongoing horizon scanning work which we will update you on very soon, so watch this space.

Get in touch

If you have any ideas for a future Service Transformation and Standards community event, or would like to find out more about this session or upcoming sessions, please contact the Digital Technology and Strategy team at:

Original source – Stephen Hale

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