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NHS England shares results of trusts' digital maturity self-assessments

Data suggests Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust come out on top in NHS England’s digital maturity assessment

NHS England has shared the data from NHS trusts’ digital maturity self-assessments, which aim to gauge their readiness for a paperless NHS.

In November 2015, NHS England asked all secondary care providers to self-assess their digital maturity using a range of criteria based around meaningful use.

The figures – published on the myNHS website, which is still in beta – describe the digital maturity at NHS trusts in England, based on their infrastructure, readiness and capabilities.

At the time, NHS England’s director of digital technology, Beverley Bryant, told Computer Weekly the capabilities category would be the most difficult one to rate, as it measures clinical processes, where people rate themselves against meaningful use of the system.

“We’re a bit nervous about this one because it’s open to interpretation,” she said, adding that the alternative was a box-ticking exercise, which NHS England was keen to avoid.

The data on 239 NHS trusts shows a mixed picture. Some have a readiness score of close to 100%, while the lowest score for readiness, given to Devon Partnership NHS Trust, is 28%.

According to the data, Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are among the top performers.

Joining Devon in the bottom three are London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation trust.

This is the first time NHS England has been able to get a full picture of how far every trust has got in terms of going digital. Paul Rice, NHS England’s head of technology strategy, said in a blog post the results reflect that “while it’s necessary to have all the technology and kit available, it is far from sufficient to ensure benefits are being optimised". 

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“How ready an organisation is to challenge existing workflows and practices, through the use of digital technology led by clinicians and informed by the needs and expectations of service users, is vital to re-imagining potential destinations,” he said.

The maturity assessments will be fed into NHS England’s Digital Maturity Index, which measures the digital maturity of NHS providers.

In September 2015, NHS England announced plans to put clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in charge of developing local digital roadmaps for achieving a digital NHS by 2020.

Together with the roadmaps and the sustainability and transformation plans, which must be completed by health and care organisations by June 2016, the digital maturity assessments will form a picture of how far organisations have to go to be paper-free at the point of care by 2020.

By March 2018, the Digital Maturity Index will become part of the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime. Eventually, it will also become part of the GP Scorecard assessments, a new set of performance indicators for GP practices that is currently under development. 

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