NHS Providers has published the fifth part of its Digital Boards programme which looks at how to increase board members’ confidence in delivering digital strategies and to help them avoid common pitfalls.

Digital delivery principles was commissioned by Health Education England as part of its Digital Readiness Education Programme and was jointly produced with Public Digital.

It sets out principles for successful digital delivery and outlines practical take-aways for trust leaders, as well as highlighting key considerations that board members should be aware of when building and deploying digital services.

The eight ‘how to’ principles are:

  • Deliver things that patients and staff need
  • Set clear, realistic goals
  • Test, measure and learn how it’s working
  • Think long term, deliver short term
  • Invest in a dedicated, cross-functional inhouse digital team
  • Get the best out of technology suppliers
  • Build trust not barriers
  • Not stick to the wrong plan.

Jenny Reindorp, interim director of programmes at NHS Providers, said: “We have seen many trusts progress in implementing digital as a side effect of the pandemic, and it’s important that we recognise and build on this momentum.

“To do this, it’s essential that board members are equipped with the expertise they need to be confident in assuring digital delivery at their trusts.

“This guide is part of our programme to do just that – it provides practical examples of how trusts can implement digital decisions successfully, and shares learning from a range of trusts on the approaches they’ve taken. Our eight principles are designed to guide busy board leaders through transformative digital change.

“The Digital Boards programme continues to offer free development sessions for individual trust boards to support them in these conversations.”

The first of the briefings from NHS Providers was published in July 2020 and encouraged NHS leaders to build on the momentum made during the Covid pandemic. It was followed by the second briefing in November 2020 which focused on how to build and enable digital teams.

Describing what a good digital strategy looks like, the third guide published in March 2021. The fourth guide aimed to empower leaders to make the right digital decisions and was published in December 2021.