NELFT Clinical Nurse Specialist Emma Selby has joined the inaugural 2018 NHS Digital Fellowship. The programme will see 23 digital advocates, who all work in the NHS, embark on an exciting new scheme to transform care and deliver better outcomes for their patients.
Professionals from a range of disciplines from 18 organisations across London’s foundation trusts, CCGs and arms-length bodies will take part in this innovative 12-month programme. The aim is to develop their knowledge and capability in influencing, problem solving, change management and business case development, while delivering digital transformation for their organisations.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 89% of adults in the UK regularly use the internet, yet; only 2% of people have any digital interaction with the NHS.
The fellowship will mobilise a growing cohort of NHS staff who will be better able to meet the digital challenge in healthcare delivery, to deliver the impact that digital transformation can enable. It will also support individuals through a peer and expert network to bring innovation into practice and develop the skills required to lead innovation.
From May 2018, the Fellows will begin to take part in action learning days to share and overcome challenges, learn from experts and collaborate to co-design local solutions.
We spoke to Emma Selby to find out more about the fellowship programme.
Why did you want to take part in the 12-month programme?
At NELFT, we have been working on Digital Innovation for the past few years and really recognised the benefit it can bring to children’s mental health in particularly, however, it can be quite difficult to join up and learn from what other organisations are doing as the nature of digital design means we tend to be doing a lot of it behind the scenes prior to a launch.
The programme gives me a chance to make connections with other digital innovators at all levels and to learn from their journeys to help inform our journey for the future.
What are you hoping to gain from the experience?
People often hear me say I fell into digital therapeutics and that is entirely true. Pretty much anything I know I have learnt along the way. Sometimes we get it really right and other times not so much. I am hoping that the experience will help me collaborate that learning and develop a strategy for digital that works for our young people and our Trust.
MindFresh will be launching soon – digital innovation is obviously close to your heart – do you think the NHS has been slow to innovate and if so what can be done to improve the roll out of new technology?
I think digital technology is something of a beast in the eyes of the NHS. In some areas, particularly in physical health, we have been a bit further ahead of the digital curve but in other areas, particularly mental health, we are lagging behind across the board.
I think this is because we are naturally risk averse and worry that introducing technology will somehow create holes in our safety nets for the most vulnerable people to fall through. I think we also sometimes hold the view that it is all or nothing with technology rather then something that can be used as an adjacent to help.
Having worked in digital innovation for a number of years, I think the waters are still very murky and quite often you don’t find out you were meant to do something in a certain way until after the fact which delays and breaks many innovations. I think if the process was smoother and clearer we would probably get more innovations to the market faster.
Thanks to Emma for speaking to us and we look forward to hearing more about the Digital Fellowship.
Emma is pictured (right) receiving the Award for Digital Innovation at the 2017 NHS Digital Pioneer Awards.