The digital skills gap and a lack of data sharing is obstructing the spread of innovation, new research has suggested.

The Human Factor: Driving Digital Solutions for 21st Century Health and Care report, led by the National Centre for Universities and Business, calls for a more emphasis on digital and data literacy education for health professionals.

The report, published on Tuesday, reveals over 85% of academic clinicians believe professional bodies must work on higher standards of digital skills in healthcare.

A further 50% believe that healthcare professionals are risk-averse in translating digital technology in clinical practice.

Beverley Bryant, chief operating officer at System C and Graphnet Care Alliance and co-chair of the report, said: “The UK must seize the prize of becoming one of the top digital health and social care systems and economies on the planet.

“The health and care system as we know it today can truly transform itself, with digital as an enabler and catalyst.

“This will allow work to be done in different locations, at the patients, consumers or users convenience, and with different sets of skills. This will require a re-education process and a love of ongoing learning to be added to the specialism approaches of today.”

The report also sets out nine recommendations, including emphasis on user-centred design and creating an environment where sharing data is as vital as protecting it.

It additionally calls for action to establish a national campaign for digital health and care skills to improve digital skills for professionals, consumers, care users and patients.

Late last year, Digital Health partnered with Clever Together and Health Education England to run a three-week online consultation that looked into how the digital readiness of England’s three million health and social care professionals could be improved.