Digital Health Intelligence has published a new snapshot report examining the Digital Maturity Assessment (DMA) scores of NHS trusts across England.

The new report is published just ahead of NHS England sending out questionnaires for the 2024 edition of the assessment.

The DHI report sheds light on the progress and challenges in digital transformation within the healthcare sector. With a policy focus on every trust achieving a minimum level of digital maturity by 2025, it highlights key success measures, regional variances, and areas for improvement.

The snapshot review also underscores the importance of proactive interventions and leveraging digital technologies to enhance patient outcomes. With preparations underway for the second year of the DMA assessment, the report sets the stage for ongoing evaluation and improvement in digital readiness within the NHS.

NHS England’s DMA is a self-assessment tool for trusts and Integrated Care Systems comprising of a baseline set of 50 questions, mapped to seven dimensions of the What Good Looks Like (WGLL) Framework, this tool scores NHS organisations from one to five.

Results and analysis

The latest DHI report shows that of the seven success measures, ‘Ensure smart foundations’ emerged as the top-performing measure across all acute, community and mental health trusts, with an average score of 3.2 out of five.

The assessment also revealed that ‘Empower citizens’ is the measure requiring the most improvement across acute, community and mental health trusts, scoring the lowest with just two out of five. “This suggests a potential emphasis on the technological aspects of care provision rather than on patient-centred care and their relationship with the provider”, the report states.

The top performing trusts overall in the DMA achieved scores ranging from 3.6 to 3.9 according to the DHI report. Among these five trusts, three have installed an EPR system from MEDITECH, one from Epic and another from Oracle Health.

In contrast, the trusts with the lowest performance in the DMA reported scores ranging from 1.6 to 1.9. One of these trusts reports using an EPR system from The Access Group, another from Civica, while one is in the process of tendering to replace their best-of-breed systems, the report states.

Two trusts in this group do not currently have an EPR system installed; however, they are either in the procurement process or actively implementing new systems.

In a presentation in December at the Digital Health Networks Exchange event in London, Will Goodwin, assistant director of programmes – digital capability at NHS England, presented the findings from the inaugural year of the DMA programme.

He said at the time that although 90% of trusts now have an EPR in place, just 10 to 30% of those have functions such as integrated prescriptions and record sharing with citizens and other hospitals.

The DHI report concludes that while individual trusts have good DMA scores, the overall NHS score requires enhancement to meet the 2025 deadline, with average scores for each measure ranging from 2.3 to 3. This is evident in the aggregate ICS DMA scores published by DHI Intelligence in November 2023.

The latest report can be accessed by DHI subscribers here.