After another significant year in the digital health space, we asked some digital health leaders what they think is in store for 2023. Here is what they predict:

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers

“Next year will continue to be challenging for the NHS, and in the digital space funding will remain constrained. Despite this, NHS board leaders will continue to look to digital ways of working to address some of the big strategic challenges the sector faces.

“Through our existing Digital Boards programme, delivered in partnership with Public Digital, and supported by HEE and NHS England, we know that trust leaders endeavour to expand and evolve their digital capabilities to meet current and future operational demands and rise to heightened expectations of patients and staff. Where possible, this will mean investing in digital teams, but will also include upskilling existing staff.

“For those with electronic patient care records (EPRs) already in place, ‘optimisation’ will be at the forefront of their strategic thinking, while consideration will be needed on alignment or even convergence with system partners. And for those who have secured funding for their EPR programmes, procurement and implementation will dominate the board’s agenda.

“Our new Digital ICS programme, delivered in partnership with the NHS Confederation and Public Digital, and supported by HEE and NHS England, will help the new ICS leadership use digital to drive their system ambitions, including digital’s role in reducing health inequalities. We look forward to working alongside integrated care boards over the course of 2023 to further realise these digital opportunities.”

Maureen Baker CBE, chair of the PRSB

“Despite the Data Alliance Partnership Board’s (DAPB) motion to extend the implementation deadline to the end of January 2024, healthcare providers will remain focused on demonstrating their conformance with the PRSB’s personalised care and support plan standard throughout next year.

“For this reason, we will be building on the successes of the Standards Partnership Scheme in helping health and social care systems suppliers implement and become conformant with our standards, by rolling out specific services to providers as well. PRSB plays a vital role in linking technology to governance and operations, and our initiatives seek to connect providers and systems suppliers operating within and across health and social care.

“Establishing consistency in information sharing and capture regarding personalised care and support planning will be an important milestone in achieving integrated care and supporting the NHS goal of delivering personalised care to 2.5 million people by 2024. I expect to see a much greater focus on the needs and requirements of the individual and recognising them as the best integrators of their own care.”

Mike Wright, CW Innovation business partner at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

“2023 will see further integration of data from health, social and economic sources to provide a more valuable 360-degree view of patient health and wellbeing.

“By integrating health data with other lifestyle behaviours such as shopping, travel and entertainment, the data conversation will move from focusing solely on clinical interventions to broader socio-clinical interventions, expediting a more comprehensive and effective care offering. This is a very different way of thinking about health and the outcomes achieved, and will underpin advances across the entire digital health spectrum. 

“In the area of remote monitoring, for example, further integration of data is already transforming how virtual wards are run. In North West London, the combination of different data sets has facilitated the emergence of regional hubs run by a general nursing team overseeing multiple virtual wards across a larger patient population.

“The benefits not only include economies of scale and help address potential recruitment issues but, critically, the patient receives a more immediate response and improved care and experience overall.”

James Reed, consultant forensic psychiatrist and CCIO at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the Digital Health CCIO Network Advisory Panel

“Given the rollercoaster ride we’ve had in 2022 across the board I’m tempted to give up making predictions. However, my hopes are that we will finally see an end to the churn at the centre and the new arrangements for digital leadership there will finally become clear.

“As part of this I would hope to see permanent replacements for some of the important senior roles at the centre, including the National CCIO post which has now been vacant for some time. I’d also quite like a response to the letter I wrote to Amanda Pritchard about this back in August!

“I am expecting to see a big push on clinical safety and cybersecurity this year, especially given the high-profile incidents in the course of the year. There is a clear need to hold suppliers to account, but also for the NHS to become a better informed and intelligent customer on these matters.

“Finally I am looking forward to the various network events in the course of the year, and in particular to the Advisory Panel elections which will take place in the run-up to the Summer School – which is a great opportunity for network members to get more involved and continue to influence at all levels.”