NHS Digital Taster Day – a very useful event

Lexacom’s CSO, Dr. Simon Bentley, attended last week’s NHS Digital Taster Day.

With Covid restrictions, this was a Teams event, lasting all morning of January 26.

It was a great introduction to the NHS Digitisation Program and the field of clinical informatics.

Further events will be held in May and September.

Lexacom Healthcare Insight Subject card for NHS Digital Taster Blog post


What is a NHS Digital Taster Day?

The NHS Digital Tasters are open to practicing clinicians, health professionals, and social workers with an interest in and responsibility for, the digital transformation of health and social care services.

Additionally, those who work outside of the NHS and Social and Health Care, with an interest in the digital side of those organisations, can also attend.

Run by NHS Digital, the tasters give an overview of practical clinical informatics and how NHS Digital operates as the digital partner within the NHS.

The goal being that attendees leave the event with an overview of the role of clinicians and other allied professionals in the IT programs and services that are supporting the digital transformation of the NHS.


What did we learn from the NHS Digital Taster Day?

Simon commented that the NHS Digital Taster Day was a ‘Grand Tour’ of NHS Digital, NHSX, NHS England, and Health & Social Care. With each stop looking at their approach to clinical informatics.

There was also an overview of where the programs and policies have come from and where the NHS is going, with digitisation.

A major discussion point was about Health and Social Care’s slow uptake of digital solutions. The discussion included the possible causes for this.

One takeaway from this part of the day. Was that the merger of NHSX, NHS Digital, NHS England, and Health and Social Care into NHS England, and NHS Improvement. Will be a big step towards addressing the slow uptake. While also accelerating the take up of subsequent stages in the programs.

Undoubtedly, the key message from all speakers was that there must and will be a significant acceleration in digital transformation across the board.

Additionally, and not unsurprisingly, there was a common thread running through the presentations and discussions about individuals’ safety. Which resonates with the core values of the NHS.

This last point had special resonance for Simon and many others at the event.

As Simon said, “As both a practicing GP and in my role as the Clinical Safety Officer for Lexacom. The safety of the individual is at the heart of what I do. That is both in their health and, increasingly, their data.”

Supporting this, Simon also commented, “the point was stressed that NHS Digital sees itself as a health care organisation rather than a digital business. Indeed, most of its staff are still active front-line clinicians”.


How did the day work? What topics were covered?

The Taster covered these topics:

  • The history of clinical informatics.
  • The NHS’ structures for clinical informatics and digital health in England.
  • How the NHS is connected through NHS Digital’s managed national programs. These include the Spine, ERS, SCR, the COVID Vaccination Program, NHS Pathways, 111 online, and Child Protection Information System, amongst many others.
  • Understanding the primacy of patient safety in Health Informatics. Including, covering the tools that connect patients, while giving them more ownership, control, and access to their own records, and appointments.
  • NHS Digital as a National Health and Social Care Data Repository. That is what data does NHS Digital hold and how this is accessed?
  • The role of clinicians in NHS Digital. Across strategy, leadership, patient safety, and program delivery.
  • Career opportunities both within NHS Digital and the wider NHS, related to clinical informatics.

Throughout the session, attendees were able to raise questions.

Plus, towards the end, attendees broke into four groups. Giving them the opportunity to discuss subjects such as patient safety, digitising social care, Pathways and the 111 services, and Covid related digital response initiatives.


Who should attend future events and why?

The NHS Digital Taster days are open to all Clinicians, and other interested professionals, from all levels. Working in both the wider NHS, Social Care, and associated organisations.

Attendance could fit into both the individuals and/or their organisations’ continuing professional development programs.

Further, attendees may want to explore a career in clinical informatics. Or understand how their day-to-day roles can be enhanced by a better understanding of clinical informatics in the NHS.


When is the next NHS Digital Taster Day?

The next NHS Digital Taster is on Wednesday 18 May 2022. With the one after that on Wednesday 21 September 2022. Both will be on Teams and will run from 9am to 1pm

The Digital Taster is a free-to-attend event. However, while free, attendance numbers are limited.

To register for one of these events please follow this link to the NHS Digital website


 Where can I find out more about the NHS Digitisation program?

There are several websites covering the various elements of the digitation of the NHS.
A simple Google search of ‘digitisation of the NHS’ will find them. We place the top three here, as links:

Digital Transformation – NHS Long Term Plan

Digital Transformation – NHS England

Our strategy to digitise, connect and transform – NHSX


What is Lexacom doing about NHS digitisation?

Reflective of how Lexacom started, we very much see our role as supporting Primary Care practices, and other elements of the NHS, in their understanding and moves to digitisation.

As a leading supplier of digital dictation and speech recognition capabilities, Lexacom is accompanying the NHS on its digitisation journey.

Plus, as a specialist in digital data management, within our niche, we believe we can both help and advise on what to do.

If this saves the Practice Management team’s time. Makes things a little clearer or simpler for them. Then we will have honoured the spirit of what Lexacom is all about.

And as a start, this blog post you’ve just read, and Simon’s role at Lexacom, are both parts of our commitment to the digitisation of the NHS.

So, please check back for further posts about this subject. Both as supporting information and for Dr. Bentley’s first-hand experience and insight as a practicing clinician.

Finally, if you would like to follow Dr. Bentley on Linked In, please follow this link