The digital revolution: good luck to Gould as he looks to galvanise NHSX

The digital revolution: good luck to Gould as he looks to galvanise NHSX
© iStock/tampatra

Matthew Gould’s first week as NHSX CEO is formally under way, but with the need of a new digital revolution, what should he focus on? Ian Crichton, CEO of Servelec, has some suggestions.

Matthew Gould is a senior civil servant who has made a career focus of managing change and collaboration and is now the CEO of NHSX, with the potential to lead the digital revolution for the UK healthcare system. From the EU Referendum Unit, the Cabinet Office’s cyber security team, as an ambassador to Israel, and in the digital economy unit at DCMS, he’ll have an innate sense of what it takes to integrate sensible policy with community need. This background will be perfect for embedding technology into the need for change to our health and social care system.

Matthew’s appointment is good news, particularly for NHS dedicated tech companies such as Servelec. Ensuring the NHS catches up with, participates in and benefits from the digital revolution we are all living through is a challenging mission requiring deep levels of understanding and commitment. It isn’t for the faint hearted!

Fast focus for a new CEO

I’m new in my role as CEO here too, so I can relate to inheriting a legacy position and having to think about what, in the future, you want to be good at, and what is better left to others. Focusing on common standards and platforms feels like a very sensible starting point for NHSX, which should allow them to focus on something they can be good at that will make a real difference in enabling others like Servelec to innovate.

I’d like to see still more focus on making IT investment a priority for NHS Trusts, who continue to struggle in stretching funding to meet ever increasing demand and costs. We know that technology and digital innovation can transform the NHS (ensuring sustainability), but infrastructure investment needs to be seen as vital, versus merely desirable. Matthew persuading his boss, Simon Stevens, with ministerial support from the other Matthew, could be a real driver for positive change.

Towards a digital revolution: interoperability and inclusivity are key

In prioritising interoperability, I hope Matthew Gould will think beyond health care as there are huge potential gains from joining up health and social care, as well as improving connectivity with education, housing and other major areas that predetermine population health. An inclusive approach, ensuring patients, charities, local government and community interest groups all have a voice and a place in joined up care will be key. For our part, software suppliers like Servelec need to prioritise seamless connectivity to enable clinicians to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients.

I wish Matthew the best of luck, there is so much potential in technology today to make a difference to people’s lives, it would be great to think that we can both make a difference, in very different but complimentary ways.

Ian Crichton

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