Digital to support personalised care

Personalised care represents a new relationship between people, professionals and the health and care system. It shifts power and decision making to give people a voice, to be heard, to be connected to each other and their communities.

Personalised care and digital are two of the five major, practical changes that will create the new NHS service model fit for the 21st century, as set out in Chapter 1 of the Long Term Plan

To ensure personalised care becomes ‘business as usual’ we need digital approaches that meet users’ needs and enable and accelerate its spread, whilst maintaining and adding value to the fundamental relational approach that personalised care represents. This includes ensuring that we have the digital services, platforms, infrastructure and standards in place that will enable interoperability across care settings and meet the significant increase in people who will receive personalised care over the next 10 years.

At the same time, personalised care supports people to be empowered to participate in their health and care using digital services that meet their needs, target prevention and offer a personalised experience.

Why digital?

Digital solutions also offer the potential to significantly enhance people’s experiences, both in terms of the NHS workforce, and people accessing health and care services.  In a recent blog, NHSX’s Chief Digital Officer, Tara Donnelly, stresses the opportunity for digital tools and personalised care to collectively improve health care experience and outcomes as well as reducing pressure on the system and provide value for money.

The Future of Healthcare: Our Vision for Digital, Data and Technology in Health and Care recognises that “the potential of cutting-edge technologies to support preventative, predictive and personalised care is huge”. Furthermore, there is a clear vision in the NHS Long Term Plan for a digital-first approach: “People will be empowered, and their experience of health and care will be transformed, by the ability to access, manage and contribute to digital tools, information and services.” (Page 93)

What are we doing?

To deliver the commitments set out in the Long Term Plan and Universal Personalised Care, our work on digital and personalised care has been in two phases so far.

During the first phase in 2017 and 2018, we engaged with IT suppliers to begin to explore and assess the digital solutions available that could support personalised care.  The purpose of this work was to start to stimulate a dynamic IT supplier marketplace, encouraging innovation and new entrants.

To aid this work, we developed of a set of IT Requirements for Personalised Care; a result of extensive engagement with people with lived experience, integrated care systems (ICSs), NHS regions, local government and other stakeholders. We published a report on our initial results in Harnessing Technology for Personalised Care (2017).

Through this process, several IT suppliers were assessed as to whether their products met the requirements for two functional areas of the Comprehensive Model; personalised care and support planning (PCSP); and systems for personal health budget management and purchasing.  These areas were identified as priorities at the time the original requirements were designed.

As the NHS Long Term Plan, and Universal Personalised Care publications were published, our focus in the second phase has been to look at digital standards and requirements for all six components of the Comprehensive Model.

This second phase builds on the work undertaken in the first phase, and is intended to ensure that the ambitions of personalised care are aligned across digital workstreams across the NHS, including Empower the Person , the Local Heath and Care Records (LHCR) programme and Primary Care Digital Transformation. Working closely with colleagues in NHSX, we are currently developing a Digital Vision for Personalised Care, which will be published here. This will be followed by a clear plan for how this digital vision will be delivered.

How to get involved

For more information about any of our work on personalised care and digital please contact