Callout to NHS digital pioneers

DigitalHealth.London Digital Pioneer Fellowship opens for applications

Former Digital Pioneer Fellowship alumnus, Nicola Reynolds

Digital innovations have provided vital support and capacity to the NHS over the last few months and will continue to do so as the impact of COVID-19 continues, and the focus turns to resuming services.

And, today, DigitalHealth.London opens applications for its Digital Pioneer Fellowship programme, supporting changemakers employed by NHS organisations in London to design and lead transformation projects underpinned by digital innovation.

Now in its third consecutive year, this year’s programme is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) and provides up to 30 Fellows with the opportunity to be part of an action-focused learning community based on accelerating the pace of digital transformation within their respective NHS organisations.

The individuals taking part have access to workshops, resources and events throughout the year to share challenges and experience, learn from experts, and collaborate to co-design solutions.

I am extremely proud of the individuals we have supported previously through our Digital Pioneer Fellowship programme for the contributions they have made to bringing digital innovation into London’s NHS, and am very pleased today to announce the opening of applications for the next cohort of pioneers

They will hear from, and be given the opportunity to ask questions of, leading sector experts during taught modules on subjects ranging from change management and business case development to agile delivery and service improvement.

Fellows will also be able to choose a mentor and be grouped into action learning sets with other fellows working in similar environments on digital transformation projects.

In the first year of the programme over 80% of the Fellows surveyed cited positive gain, saying they gained specific technical skills and/or had met an individual challenge thanks to the Fellowship.

All Fellows surveyed were confident that being part of the Fellowship was of benefit to their career.

Sara Nelson, programme lead for the Digital Pioneer Fellowship, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges the NHS has faced and I have no doubt that the staff’s quick adaptation and uptake of digital innovations has been vital in enabling key services and care to continue over this period.

“As a nurse with over 25 years of service to the NHS, I appreciate how challenging digital transformation in the NHS can be if staff aren’t given the support, advice and time to develop professional skills that they need.

“I am extremely proud of the individuals we have supported previously through our Digital Pioneer Fellowship programme for the contributions they have made to bringing digital innovation into London’s NHS, and am very pleased today to announce the opening of applications for the next cohort of pioneers.”

I found the Fellowship experience invaluable. It had a significant impact on the project and led to my solution becoming incorporated into the trustwide solution

Tara Donnelly, chief digital officer at NHSX, adds: “We need to support the clinicians, service leads, managers and operational staff in our NHS who are at the heart of digital healthcare delivery with the tools they need to drive change in their organisations.

“The DigitalHealth.London Digital Pioneer Fellowship provides them with these tools and I am thrilled it is opening for applications once again and look forward to witnessing the impact this next cohort of change-makers have on London’s NHS.”

Former Digital Pioneer Fellowship alumnus, Nicola Reynolds, principal clinical psychologist at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, was recently appointed deputy clinical director for children and young person’s mental health at Health Innovation Network. She said: “I wanted to develop my skills and knowledge in order to help drive the development and adoption of digital working within my organisation, so I applied to programme.

“Having been successful in gaining a place, I was encouraged to think more strategically, and by doing so I expanded the remit of my digital role.

We need to support the clinicians, service leads, managers and operational staff in our NHS who are at the heart of digital healthcare delivery with the tools they need to drive change in their organisations

“I recently contributed to a bid for funding from NHSX and we were successful in securing £200,000 to contribute to the development of a digital care pathway for child and adolescent mental health services.

“I found the Fellowship experience invaluable, both the formal teaching and the Action Learning Set groups. I was able to use the insights I gained from the Change Management session to arrange and deliver on an alignment conversation with the senior team.

“It had a significant impact on the project and led to my solution becoming incorporated into the trustwide solution.”

For more information on the programme, click here.

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