Time to update: Moving away from legacy IT in healthcare
Reform is pleased to be hosting this policy hackathon with Amazon Web Services. With a keynote address from Wendy Clark, Chief Digital Information Officer, NHS Blood and Transplant.
More than a decade has gone by since successive governments have identified legacy IT as an issue, yet there is still a lot work to be done to modernise the public sector’s digital infrastructure. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in healthcare. Matt Hancock’s tech vision highlights that currently the NHS is “the world’s most frustrating place to work for its IT”. Its “clunky, clunky, clunky” legacy technology means that outdated proprietary IT systems keep data locked-in and impede the sharing information – even between GPs and specialists. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a crucial reminder of the importance of having and be able to share accurate near to real-time information for operational decision-making.
Technology offers huge potential for the NHS to deliver better outcomes for patients and make the system more effective as highlighted in Matt Hancock’s tech vision. However, to deliver this bold vision, the health and care system needs to get the basics right. This means understanding what the key blockers are to moving away from legacy technology and addressing these with practical solutions. It is key to understand why despite existing guidance and documents published on the GOV.uk website trying to help public services move away from legacy IT, there is a clear gap between guidance and actions taken on the ground.
Building on some of the excellent work carried out by the Cabinet Office on legacy IT in the public sector, it is an opportune moment to dig deeper and identify practical solutions to key blockers impeding healthcare organisations from moving away from legacy IT. Convening a policy hackathon is an ideal way to address these problems in the most solution-focused way possible as it will deliver key ideas on how to make this vision a reality.
The hackathon is designed to enable a more solution-focused discussion on key policy questions. Using as the basis the challenges and ‘points of tension’ identified in the pre-event research Reform will carry out, a set of scenario-based problems will be explored. The aim is to come out with practical steps and solutions to the problems.
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