The digital pioneers programme was established in response to:
- An urgent need to address capability and capacity challenges to build our future primary care workforce
- Covid-19. The pandemic has accelerated the need for use of digital tools such as video consultations in primary care
- Patient demand, which has increased across all services. In the last three years, there has been 15%increase and general practice nationally is delivering more than 1 million appointments every day, and half a million more every week than pre-pandemic
- A decline in the Informatics workforce within the region (those who work in data, digital, technology and knowledge).
With an aim to:
- Improve primary care processes
- Improve staff and patient experience
- Improve staff retention rates
- Improve care
- 10 cohorts of champions
- 79 people in attendance
- From survey response 100% of champions would recommend the programme
- Confidence levels rose from 8 to 10
- Great geographical coverage
- 100 people attended masterclasses •
- 17,000 impressions across social media for digital pioneers
The digital champions programme was launched in April 2022 in partnership with Redmoor Health. Its content is based on best practice and tried and tested approaches, in addition to the feedback from primary care colleagues. The programme was delivered in an action learning style where digital champions come together as a community of practice for a minimum of 12 months to share and learn and apply best practice. In the first year 79 digital champions were trained.
Digital champions attend two structured sessions, a drop in session and the offer of 1 to 1 support, and have the opportunity to talk to their peers through a closed group. Digital champions have made great use of the closed group to support one another with challenges in their own area. To compliment the programme, masterclasses based on gaps in knowledge are developed and delivered to continuously upskill digital champions. Further, masterclasses are open to a wider audience and recorded to attract future digital champions.
We have produced a number of resources for the programme including a role descriptor for digital champions, an introductory video from the clinical lead, Dr Gareth Coakley, and a closed web resource to direct digital champions to course content and other useful tools. Finally, digital champions are sent out a thank you box containing treats and branded material to support them in their role. These have been well received by digital champions.
Digital champions are expected to focus on two digital projects to benefit their workplace and were given the freedom to choose these based on organisational priorities. Projects have covered a vast array of subject areas including social media, increasing the use of the NHS app, introducing health apps, prescription ordering, improving websites as well as other ideas.
Additional training has been provided in the form of master classes which have been co-designed with digital champions and have focused on:
- Quality and Change management
- Social media
- Microsoft 365
In addition to working alongside colleagues across the system and building strong links to support the future workforce to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge to deliver the digital future of the NHS. This includes work with local universities and PCNs. The digital champions is part of an overarching programme, Digital Pioneers which incorporates:
- Digital Champions
- Innovation in Primary Care
- Community of Practice
- Accelerator programmes (e.g. remote monitoring)
- Design Thinking
The programme will run for a further year building on its successes of year 1. The full impact report can be found here: https://ahsn-nenc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Digital-Pioneers-Impact-Report-22-23.pdf
What the champions told us: