Digital Health and Care Wales has officially launched to provide national technology and data services across the country.

Previously the Wales Informatics Service, the new special health authority (SHA) aims to drive digital transformation and reflect the importance of digital and data in health and care.

A Healthier Wales, the Welsh Government’s plan for health and care, identifies the development of digital services as key to delivering services fit for the future.

Digital Health and Care Wales, which launched on 1 April, will focus on delivery, innovation and support for individual health and wellbeing.

Bob Hudson, interim chair, said: “The pace of technology change has never been faster. We have seen how the rapid deployment of new technology has supported the NHS Wales’ response to the pandemic, with over 5,000 video consultations every week, a national contact tracing platform and vaccination system. But there is more to do.

“We are at a watershed where new technologies can truly transform the way healthcare is delivered, and the new SHA will ensure Wales is at the forefront of this revolution.”

Helen Thomas, interim chief executive, added: “Creation of Digital Health and Care Wales is a really positive step that allows us to support the wider system, with the advantage of scale when it matters, combined with an understanding of the health needs of our communities.

“This is an exciting time and the start of a new era for digital health and care.  Technology is evolving and the pandemic has demonstrated that it has never been more important for our NHS.

“Now we look forward to working together with patients and health professionals to innovate, move forward and make technology and data work for better health.”

Digital Health and Care Wales board members include:

  • Helen Thomas, interim chief executive until 1 September 2021. Thomas has more than 20 years’ experience using healthcare information and data to improve NHS services and has led the NHS Wales Informatics Service in providing digital services to support Covid-19 response.
  • Rhidian Hurle, medical director for DHCW. Hurle is a consultant urological surgeon and the current chief clinical information officer for Wales
  • Claire Osmundsen-Little, director of finance. She has more than 20 years’ experience holding senior finance positions in both the private sector and within NHS Wales
  • Ruth Glazzard, vice-chair. Glazzard has a background in financial services, regulation and governance and also has non-executive board experience with a housing association and a social enterprise
  • Grace Quantock, who holds a number of non-executive positions in health, social care and human rights. She has experience in digital and creative technologies research with Cardiff University and the University of the West of England
  • Rowan Gardner, who has more than 30 years’ experience of working in and founding businesses that have used digital technology to understand disease and find new treatments and medicines
  • Sian Doyle, who has international experience in the telecommunications and retail sectors, working to deliver transformation and digital strategies
  • David Selway, a chartered engineer with more than 40 years’ experience using digital technology to drive transformation across IT and engineering organisations
  • Marian Wyn Jones, who has extensive experience in journalism and broadcasting and has held non-executive positions in education, health and broadcasting