Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy Elena Whitham visited a local project yesterday (21 November 2023) to meet people benefiting from the Scottish Government’s £3.1 million Digital Lifelines Programme.
Onto the next step
What began as a daunting, wide-ranging piece of work has really taken shape over the past year thanks to the shared efforts of a huge of number of people in the health and care landscape.
We embarked upon a wide-ranging engagement activity across the sector and were determined to connect with as many people as possible, and generate as wide a range of views, experiences, and ideas for our strategy. The contributions and responses received on our data strategy have now been published and these are all greatly appreciated. We had over 160 responses from organisations and individuals and the level of passion and enthusiasm for our work on data is really clear.
I attended the Audit Scotland roundtable event on data gaps recently, which was a thought provoking and very engaging discussion. I was reflecting on the challenges and concerns surrounding data and how it is used, as well as the opportunities for transforming our services and patient experiences. There is a real desire to work across the public sector and it was really interesting to share the opportunities to do more with our data for wider benefit.
I would encourage you to read the blog and report from the Audit Scotland event and I think many of the actions and messages resonate with the next steps that we need to take to improve digital health and care in Scotland. We are taking the next step on our journey and will be publishing the new Data Strategy in early 2023. The themes and key issues identified from the consultation have now been mapped out and we will be setting out in more detail what each of these themes will mean.
The engagement and consultation has highlighted the fundamental importance of getting the approach to data right, and how this is critical to our major programmes, for example the National Information Governance Programme, the Digital Front Door, and the ongoing work on clinical informatics and SNOMED-CT. It’s crucial that the Data Strategy reflects and supports all of these components of the wider digital agenda in health and social care.
We have some exciting work emerging on AI and I am greatly encouraged by the close collaboration that we have with industry and research partners on many of the projects. The innovation and change in use of data will be a critical to achieving the aims of our strategy and for the future of digital health and care, and I hope we are able to create and support new partnerships with industry on data and AI.
The Data Strategy is our important next step on our journey and is a starting point not the end. I look forward to collaborating and working closely with all of our stakeholders over the coming months and years, and to share learnings and discussions as we progress.
Jonathan Cameron is Deputy Director, Digital Health and Care, Scottish Government.
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The latest update on the Data Strategy and the formation of two new Sub-boards.