Digital Health Care in Gateshead

12th May 2021

The AHSN NENC and Health Network North were delighted to jointly lead a collaborative session with Gateshead Council which focused on digital innovation within health and care in Gateshead. In this blog, Russell Watkins, Commercial Director at the AHSN NENC, discusses some of the key barriers and opportunities explored on the day.

Digital innovation has played an important part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic across health and social care. The ability to reflect on impact is critical to ensure that the learning can be taken forward into the ‘reset’ phase.

Following a number of separate discussions about the provision and adoption of digital health and care in Gateshead, key stakeholders were keen to bring the conversations together to develop a collaborative understanding of the situation and opportunities.

Keen to work with colleagues across health, social care, voluntary and community sector partners on the digital care agenda post-pandemic, Health Network North and the AHSN NENC set up a joint event with Gateshead Council – led by Steph Downey, the Council’s Service Director for Adult Social Care – ‘Design Thinking Workshop – Digital Health Care in Gateshead’.

The session brought together over 40 delegates from across the sector with representatives from NHS England, the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, Gateshead and Newcastle CCG, social care and housing representatives from Gateshead Council, and the voluntary and charities sector.

The aim of the event was to analyse the problems faced by local health and social care services, in relation to digital innovation and explore possible solutions.

Some of the challenges outlined included: digital exclusion for key groups; lack of staff digital skills and access; lack of digital knowledge, confidence and skills and access to equipment; complex systems not talking to each other; and a lack of investment.

The discussions were wide ranging and we were able to utilise the expertise of Matt Atkinson, CEO of Radical Panda, with the use of a digital white board to develop and vote on a list of areas for action and consideration. These included:

  • Establish a digital partnership across the health and care sector and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Explore wider visions for digital transformation.
  • Digital inclusion and how we address digital poverty as our system develops.
  • Work with regional partners who can support digital skills development for the workforce.

Further to this event, we will establish a multi-disciplinary team to explore how health and care systems can be further transformed to better support local communities and address digital exclusion in an increasingly digital world.

To find out more about our work in this area, contact [email protected].