Development of a Digital Strategy

23rd May 2022


Delivering stakeholder engagement to inform development of NHSXs’ national digital strategies for ambulance, community, dental, optometry and community pharmacy sectors.

NHSX was a joint unit of NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, supporting local NHS and care organisations to:

  • digitise their services
  • connect the health and social care systems through technology
  • transform the way patients’ care is delivered at home, in the community and in hospital

The Challenge

There is significant potential for digital technologies to support improvements in care across the whole of the NHS towards the delivery of 21st century world class health care for all patients. This potential could be highest in those sectors which have historically received less digital funding in recent years, namely Pharmacy, Optometry, Dentistry, Ambulance and Community (PODAC) services. NHSX needed to develop a digital strategy for these five sectors and required an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement to achieve this.

Our Approach

We worked in partnership with Kaleidoscope Health & Care to deliver a full programme of stakeholder engagement across the five sectors (ambulance, community, dental, optometry and community pharmacy sectors) to inform development of the NHSX Digital PODAC strategy (2021 – 2026). Key outputs were to 1) develop comprehensive national digital strategies across the five PODAC sectors and 2) facilitate the building of social capital between stakeholders for long-term engagement and development.

Our support included:

  • performing a desk-based review of digital developments across the sectors.
  • wide-ranging engagement activities to seek views and input to identify key needs, priorities and recommendations. Stakeholders were drawn from NHSX, NHS Digital, NHS England and NHS Improvement, staff representative bodies, sector membership organisations, individual practitioners, patients and patient representative bodies, system leads and digital champions.
  • focused workshops to test and challenge the recommendations and implementation plans.
  • authorship of the sector strategies, working collaboratively with NHSX PODAC Sector Leads.
  • support for stakeholder management.

 The Outcome

  • We engaged with over 500 key stakeholders nationally (via one-to-ones/group meetings, bespoke workshops and online feedback) to successfully facilitate the deliverables.
  • Our approach ensured that the digital strategy remained closely aligned to the clinical vision for each sector. We built relationships with key stakeholders so that they can continue to be involved in planning and implementing the priorities set out in the strategy. The resulting strategy was endorsed by NHSE clinical leadership for each sector and the strategy underpinned a case for investment for the programme.