Digital Pioneers – Fostering collaboration, ideas exchange and innovation to deliver better healthcare for all

11th January 2022

Over the last two years, Covid-19 has accelerated digital health in ways that many of us could never have imagined. At Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), we’re delighted to be introducing a new Digital Pioneers programme, to support and drive forward digital health ideas and innovations in primary care.

In this blog, Rachael Forbister, Digital Transformation Programme Manager, tells us about the Digital Pioneers programme which will be shared with primary care colleagues in general practice, dentistry, optometry and pharmacy in the coming months.

The programme will drive the development and adoption of innovation across primary care, foster a digitally skilled workforce and reinforce the regions position as a leader in technology and innovation.”

We are on the cusp of a seismic shift. National conversation and uptake of digital health around the world is dramatically changing before our eyes.

We’ve seen first-hand how Covid-19 has been a catalyst for clinicians and consumers to embrace, use and build their trust in digital health. In the last year many people have used telehealth for the first time. We’ve significantly accelerated the implementation of virtual wards and work is ongoing to develop and build upon platforms and ecosystems to support the roll out of digital healthcare.

There are real opportunities and benefits of using digital technologies in health, and with a vibrant digital economy, the North East and North Cumbria region is a hotbed for digital innovation.

What is Digital Pioneers?

There are a number of elements to the Digital Pioneers programme and, simply put, it’s a programme of activities to propel the digital agenda in primary care, with the aim of improving the quality of care for our population. Primary care colleagues have the insights and expertise when it comes to identifying the current issues faced in the healthcare system, and AHSN NENC can provide the connections and expert support that’s needed to drive forward their solutions and innovations.

The programme, which is targeted at primary care, includes access to services which support digital transformation in healthcare, including the Innovation Pathway, which is an AHSN NENC initiative that enables healthcare innovations to become a reality and fosters collaborations between NHS and industry. As well as this, in the new year we’ll be launching a whole host of digital programmes, funding opportunities and events.

Who can get involved?

The Digital Pioneers programme is for primary care colleagues working in general practice, dentistry, optometry and pharmacy in the North East and North Cumbria.

Why get involved?

Improving services for patients and better health for all is at the heart of Digital Pioneers. By working together to develop digital tools, we can deliver improved accessibility and inclusivity, quality, safety and efficiency.

There will also be opportunities for learning and development, sharing best practice and peer support. In addition, primary care colleagues will benefit from support from our expert team at AHSN NENC, to help make their ideas a reality. We understand the importance of health and social care, academia and industry working together to realise new ideas which will improve the quality of care to our local population and beyond, as well as leading to economic growth.

Find out more

The AHSN NENC is delighted to be working in partnership with Digital First Primary Care and the Integrated Care System for the North East and North Cumbria.

Be amongst the first to know about the Digital Pioneer programme! For more information contact Dave Belshaw, Director of Digital Transformation at [email protected].

More information will be shared with primary care colleagues in the coming months.