Tech 100: ‘Two years ago we took the plunge... now we’re starting to see the fruits’

Written by Paul Donnelly on 13 February 2017 in Comment

Paul Donnelly of NHS Education for Scotland on the biggest barrier the health sector faces in achieving digital transformation and how it should go about tackling it in 2017

Paul Donnelly, NHS Education for Scotland

Paul Donnelly, Principal Lead of Digital (Corporate), NHS Education for Scotland - Image credit: Holyrood

Fear. Whether you’re talking about Uber, 3D printing or digital transformation, change is disruptive.

It opens up radical new ways of delivering things but it can massively threaten the existing order, bringing risk to organisations and to people themselves.

Tackling that needs leadership, investment and real-life examples of how it can actually bring benefits.


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There’s a bit of a contradiction. NHSScotland evolves daily, constantly looking at how to refine clinical practices or get more out of tightening budgets.

But radical organisational change is something we’re wary of – you don’t want to destabilise a healthcare system.

So systems get more unwieldy and expensive and we miss out on the really big opportunities for using tech in new ways.

At NHS Education for Scotland we decided that although transforming ourselves was a risk, carrying on and being squeezed a bit more every year was a greater risk. So two years ago we took the plunge.

Now we’re starting to see the fruits – our digital platform Turas is revolutionising the way staff access learning and development. Office 365 is enabling real collaboration and ServiceNow is streamlining NES processes.

And by investing in the people delivering the transformation, we’ve managed to open up creative new careers for them as well. That's the prize - driving the change ourselves.

Paul Donnelly is principal lead of digital (corporate) for NHS Education for Scotland

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