From private to public sector

In September, Juliet Bauer was appointed as NHS England’s Director of Digital Experience. Here, she shares her own personal story about why she decided to join NHS England and tells of some of the opportunities offered by information and digital technology in the NHS.

A year ago, I was lying terrified in a hospital bed not knowing how things would turn out.

Not knowing if I would ever get to meet our daughter Sophie. Not knowing if I would survive the life-saving operation I was about to have. Not knowing if three years of operations, bed rest, 14 A&E visits and 9 emergency ambulances would have been worth it.

Today I am sitting at my desk in my new job as Director of Digital Experience for NHS England. But why?

Image of Juliet Bauer and her daughter SophieSophie and I received incredible care from the NHS. Life-saving care for both of us from professionals who knew the best way to the best outcome. But it was clear at many points in the journey that their jobs could have been made much easier, not just for me but for the millions of people who interact with the NHS every day. The doctors’ ability to access previous information about me was not what it should be. Vital data was not collected or connected. Information from all my interactions across the system was not to hand when it was needed. Under pressure, professionals were spending too much time trying to fill the gaps.

Information and digital technology offers the most incredible opportunity for us to create a better relationship between patients and clinicians. A more equal, more sustainable, more rewarding relationship. Every day we experience this in many walks of life. Indeed, for many in their 20s and younger, they will not remember a world that isn’t like this. Good examples of organisations that connect effectively with us are banks and supermarkets. Whether it’s seamless online banking or organising a weekly food shop delivery, they understand our needs and maintain an ongoing personalised relationship.

The NHS has to move faster towards this relationship. If we can create better digital services, tools and communication, we can get where we need to be. If we can apply the principles that many of the worlds’ best digital companies are using every day to the challenges we have, we can get there. If we can take the brilliant things that are being done in pockets across the health system and broaden it out, everyone will benefit. If we can start small and build out in this way, then we can start to do this now.

Above all, if we can trust and empower each other, we can build a future NHS service that our children can be proud of.

Over the next coming months I’ll share more about our plans and progress with you around NHS Choices, NHS Identity and wifi programmes, apps and wearables, personal health records and widening digital participation. Where we’re making real improvements, the differences patients and carers will see and feel and, just as importantly – when and how you can help.

Juliet Bauer

Juliet was previously NHS England’s Chief Digital Officer. Tara Donnelly is due to take over the role of CDO at the beginning of February. She will oversee a portfolio of digital services including the NHS website, NHS ‘assured’ apps library, and the development of digital services to empower patients to better manage their health and care, including long-term conditions such as diabetes.


  1. Sasha Digweed says:

    WHat machines will be doctors replaced by in the future?

  2. Mrs A-M SMITH says:

    great to know how well you were treated hoping your good health contine I wish to find some good treatment for spondilatis very debilitating but got no help from G P ‘S old age ,wear and tare rub gel and co-codimol not effective pilate exercises help against stiffness but life is sad not able to work nor enjoying it shoukd I be refered to hospital specialist ?

  3. chandrakant kansagra says:

    Hi Juliet,
    Am a patient now.Yes NHS care is excellent.But patients are not able to us the benefit of NHS DIGITAL platform fully and help save money.

  4. Martin Parker says:

    Juliet, appreciate there is a lot of work within the NHS around technology and digital solutions but please also consider the impact of any developments / changes on social care as we need to start working together to help improve people’s lives and using technology is one way that, jointly, we can do that. Look forward to working with the NHS around the technological / digital developments you develop.

  5. Carol Munt says:

    Your experience as a patient obviously made an impression on you. Please don’t forget that other patients also have a wealth of experience to offer at the planning stage. The plans, to which you refer, should be joint as should trust and empowerment. The NHS is for the people and ‘No decision about me without me’ applies to all decisions and plans. Don’t forget you and your family are patients too.

  6. John Davies says:

    Is that the outfit that has been unable to get back data from companies given to them illegaly and won’t tell us who the companies are who are refusing to give back data
    Was it the NHS Information Service of something – that was a mess as well, even Manning admitted that were patients requests to be removed from the SCR had been ignored.