NHS Digital is to relocate to its headquarters from Leeds to Shoreditch, London, in a move designed to better connect the organisation best known for crunching NHS statistics with the vibrant tech start-up scene.
The surprise announcement will see NHS Digital, which manages NHS IT infrastructure and data, relocate over 200 of its most senior executives to London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’, epicenter of the capital’s technology, hipster, and beard wearing community.
Digital Health News understands that NHS Digital has secured the lease on a building in Old Street that had previously been occupied by fintech blockchain start-up Moneylaundry.com, which ceased trading after leaving $6 billion of client funds in limbo following an AI glitch.
Senior NHS Digital executives will soon rub shoulders with start-ups, tech giants, and major academic institutions that have invested in the area.
Corporate culture reimagineering specialist Shiny, Shiny has been retained to help NHS Digital change its culture and outlook to better fit with the edgy start-up scene of the area.
Digital Health News has seen a draft copy of its preliminary reimagineering report on NHS Digital. Some of the recommendations are likely to prove challenging to some current senior management.
It states that all future senior management meetings “will be held on bean bags”. “Suits will also be banned and execs instead encouraged to wear hoodies”.
Digital Health News understands that table football tables have been ordered and there will be hacky sack tournaments in the foyer every lunchtime.
To stay connected with staff left behind in NHS Digital’s Leeds offices smart avatars of the senior management team have been developed, which will appear on staff computer screens to provide one-on-one mentoring and motivational pep talks.
The report says, “using cutting-edge gaming technology the virtual exec team avatars will be almost indistinguishable from the analog originals.”
Early prototypes include smart avatars of directors Tom Denwood and Beverley Bryant, code-named ‘TinTom’ and the ‘Bevbot’.
Discussing strategies to maximize Shoreditch staff productivity and generate ‘buzz’, the report recommends ‘coffee, lots and lots of free coffee’ and laying on lavish subsidised catering to “discourage staff from ever having to leave the building”.
NHS Digital’s new Silicon Roundabout HQ will be developed up as a hub for start-ups, who will be able to rent space, get NHS Digital mentors and download gigabytes of patient data while sipping a macchiato.
The first wave of start-ups will include TakeMyData, an app which pomises to create a dynamic online marketplace for selling patient data.
Artificial intelligence prescribing platform Sticktothebloodygenerics, meanwhile promises to cut prescribing bills through providing targetted alerts to prescribers.
A gritty new population health platform ‘Cigarettesandalcohol’, will also feature in the first wave of start-ups.
And cyber security specilaist ‘Gonephishing’ aims to revolutionize email cyber security in the NHS.
Turning to policy issues, the Shiny, Shiny report notes that to achieve a lasting change in identity requires senior leaders to “just chill out, seriously, and stop sweating so much about boring stuff like information governance and privacy”.
Instead, it advises following the lead of leading tech giants, and provide patients with “such a catch all and complex set of terms and conditions that nobody will ever read or understand them.”
The report notes “a potentially good start has been made in this area with the Caldicott 3 report”.
PrivacySux, the campaign group that argues for a dramatic watering down of individuals digital rights, welcomed the bold new rebalancing of data privacy rights away from citizens in favor of corporate interests.
Ironically, the NHS Digital move comes when many tech companies are actually quitting Silicon Roundabout for other parts of London, due to rising rents.
Unconfirmed rumors suggest that the new London HQ may be paid for by sub-contracting NHS Digital’s development staff to Leeds-based Sky Bet.
NHS Digital had not been approached for comment at the time of publication.