NHS leaders from across the south east have shared their experiences and journeys of digital transformation.

The Digital Health Networks regional virtual event, held on 16 October, featured a number of presentations on what digital projects the area is working on.

One of the presenters was Balvinder Heran, joint strategic director of information assets and digital development at Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC), Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) and NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Heran spoke about mobile working and how local NHS trusts have been introducing digital, including a digital ward round which was created by a nurse.

She also said she believed digital transformation is “60% change and 40% technology” and emphasised the need for training.

“Digital is the way forward to improve patient experience and to improve patient safety but you can’t forget that it’s only as good as the workforce and the people who use it,” she said.

“So that investment in training, that investment in supporting people to fully take on that new way of working is as critical as buying the technology.”

Heran was joined by Dr Justin Kirk-Bayley, who is a consultant intensivist and anaesthetist, the professional director of therapeutics and clinical lead for intensive care at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Kirk-Bayley spoke about how the trust was able to deliver remote ward rounds in its intensive care unit by using mobile devices which use Imprivata Mobile Device Access (MDA).

He explained how the devices have allowed doctors to conduct remote ward rounds, which helped keep staff safe and allowed the trust to protect its supplies of personal protective equipment.

The devices could also be used by patients and helped them stay in contact with family and loved ones.

While the devices have been transformational during the pandemic, Dr Kirk-Bayley added that the devices will allow the trust to build on a “rock solid foundation”.

Another presenter was Morfydd Williams, director of IT at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, who spoke about how to build bridges between hospitals and care homes.

Williams said confidence in digital “grew” during the Covid-19 pandemic but added that the main challenge was how to bring care homes into the “digital world”.

Williams concluded her presentation by saying her trust was keen to build on the “enthusiasm and confidence” for digital which emerged in light of coronavirus.