NHS CIOs and CTOs face a future of continuous change in the digital era. As new technology and innovations develop, they must make quick decisive decisions, so it is essential for each organisation to have a clear strategic approach for IT.
Digital optimisation will play an increasingly important role for the NHS at a time where Trusts are pushed to be financially-considerate of investment already made in existing infrastructure. It enables organisations to adopt the latest technology advancements at a lower cost-level and limits the risk involved in a full-scale transformation.
Evolving and optimising technology
The NHS increasingly relies on technology to ensure accurate data, effective patient care, and employee access. IT will continue to play a fundamental role in the NHS and the infrastructure must evolve to suit requirements. CTOs and CIOs need to have a clear vision about the direction and approach that evolution will take.
With a vast IT estate already in place that plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the NHS, these must be evaluated to understand how they can be optimised to ensure they continue to work for a modern-day NHS Trust.
Gartner describes optimisation as “a type of digital journey that has the ambition of significantly improving existing business models through improved productivity, greater revenue generation of existing streams and improved customer experience.” (Gartner: Digital Business Ambition: Transform or Optimize?)
For example, take employee and access management; by optimising the current systems, NHSmail, ESR, and Active Directory, with a solution such as BDS Solutions’ Directory Manager helps to bridge the communication gap between the systems.
This optimisation enables NHS IT teams to enhance automation and efficiency, removing duplication of work and the potential for errors.
Optimisation is an important approach for the NHS. With systems in place already doing critical roles, optimisation enables them to continue to do so, without falling behind on technological advancements. The benefits for the NHS are sound, which Gartner describes as “productivity improvements, better customer and employee experiences, and better utilization of assets and inventory.”
Risky transformation approach
Optimisation is one of two general strategic approaches that have been extensively discussed for some time, the other being business transformation. Before deciding which route to take, some practical steps must be taken to understand your current infrastructure, the challenges and future direction.
Transformation is often an ideal. Taking out systems and adding in brand new often feels like a good, fresh approach. However, systems have a tendency to sound great in theory, but the reality of rip and replace is often very challenging.
It is also very risky. Removing all well-known specialist systems and adding in new processes is risky for data, consistency and user ability. Optimising the existing systems that work well, is a much safer and business-driven approach. With such a large-scale environment, the NHS must adopt a clear strategic approach to optimise their IT to ensure a technological successful future.