Digital transformation has been making its mark on organisations in healthcare and beyond over the last few years, with no signs of stopping. In the NHS, much of the focus has been on acute services until recently, but this focus is now shifting towards community services, with Sussex Community Foundation Trust (SCFT) being named as the first community Digital Aspirant Trust by NHSx. This article explores what digital transformation is and uses SCFT's experiences to illustrate how this can provide benefits for community nurses. It considers what the future of digital transformation might look like and how clinicians can help to ensure patients remain central to any change.
The phrase ‘digital transformation’ has become synonymous with healthcare in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for the NHS to accelerate its digital capabilities, not least within community nursing, where mobile working has presented an additional opportunity for transformation. Health policy, local initiatives and patient needs have combined to produce an environment of transformation, delivered at an unprecedented pace across the healthcare landscape. Clinicians across all areas have learnt new skills, and organisations have embraced new governance and procedural challenges against a backdrop of increased patient acuity and an environment of collaborative learning to meet the needs of safe patient care. To illustrate this, a case study of the work undertaken at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) is presented in this article.
The NHS Long Term Plan (NHS England, 2019) emphasises the future of digitally enabled care, laying out ambitions which go even further than has already been achieved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Community trusts are at the forefront of delivering on these the ambitions by:
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