Digital Skills and Leadership

Digital skills are seen as core skills for the workforce across the health and care sector.

Shaziya's story

“As a digital leader working in primary care, having the right digital skills has enabled me and my team to support patients across the health and care sectorThis has opened a whole new career path and rewarding professional developmentBeing part of the MSc programme has increased my digital skills, my confidence and professional satisfaction and I am excited to be able to share the learning with my Health Board and across the UK.”

Shaziya is a dentist working in the NHS with a clinical interest in public health dentistry.  In recent years she has become increasingly interested in how digital solutions can enhance her clinical practice and help her surgery run more efficiently. 

In the past two years she has developed a website for her surgery that provides information about dental health and local services; and an online appointment booking system that offers flexibility and convenience to patients and reduces incoming telephone calls.   

Shaziya has established electronic communications with orthodontal and Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) colleagues for discussing cases and onward referral of patients as appropriate.   

Shaziya maintains her CPD through attending webinars and online conferences and seminars and attends a virtual journal club.  She completes her annual review with her appraiser through Microsoft Teams and the associated records and evidence of Continuous Professional Development is recorded on the NHS Education for Scotland (NES) TURAS platform. 

Last year, Shaziya joined the six-month online Digital Leadership Programme provided by NES and undertook a project to develop a text message patient reminder service for her surgery.  Following completion of the Programme, she joined the Scottish Digital Health and Care Network, a Microsoft Teams channel for professionals interested in developing digital heath and care skills, initiatives and networking. Using this learning, Shaziya introduced a formalised development programme for her own staff which includes online resources developed using materials already available for health and care professionals on the TURAS platform.   

Shaziya was recently approached by the Scottish branch of the British Dental Association (BDA) to share her digital experience and skills development with BDA colleagues, and regularly delivers online webinars that are broadcast live and made available on the BDA website. 

Shaziya has also written an article on how digital can support dentistry, which was published in the BDA’s online journal.  Following this, she was approached to give presentations at conferences, which she mainly does online via Microsoft Teams and makes her slides available on her surgery’s website. 

This year, Shaziya is keen to develop her leadership skills further and was accepted onto the new MSc programme on Leading Digital Transformation, sponsored by the Scottish Government and run by the University of Edinburgh.   

Shaziya is now part of a community of 60 fellow health and social care professionals in this first cohort that will reinforce digital leadership in organisations across Scotland. 

Shaziya is increasingly active in her professional organisation regarding digital developments and has agreed to work with them one day a week to lead the development of their own Digital Strategy.  As a result, she has also been invited to join the UK BDA Digital Board and contribute to their strategic digital developments as well as being invited to represent Dentistry on her region’s public health forum and serve as their digital advisor. 

Eilidh's story

Eilidh is a General Practice (GP) nurse and uses data-driven reports generated from the surgery’s health records to give her an overview on how effectively the practice supports patients with Long-Term Conditions.   

Eilidh uses reporting tools in Connect Me to help her monitor patients’ blood pressure, using the readings they have supplied to the surgery from monitoring themselves at home.  She also sends out online questionnaires to patients to find out how they are getting on with their asthma and COPD.  In addition, the practice uses text messaging to remind patients to come in for annual person-centred health checks, and patients can use the online appointment booking tools through the Digital Front Door to make and amend their appointments 

Eilidh can hold some consultations with patients remotely, using the Near Me service for those patients who wish to do so, saving them the need to attend the practice and the requirement to arrange transport.  She uses the electronic referrals service to get support from specialist condition-specific outreach teams such as heart specialists, community Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) rehabilitation, diabetes, and physiotherapy.  Eilidh’s diabetic patients use My Diabetes My Way to review their own results and understand how to manage their condition.   

Eilidh can also refer patients with mental health needs to a range of online support services such as Mind to Mind and Silver Cloud, which are just 2 examples of the 26 online mental health therapies that are available to people across Scotland – offering flexible, more immediate support 24/7 as well as being able to signpost people via NHS Inform to services people can access face to face should they wish to do so. 

“Having the right digital skills core skills helps me support my patients, gives me the insight into how the surgery is operating and the impact of our support as well as empowering people to access the right care, at the right place at the right time to manage their health and care needs.”