Elizabeth Dymond: How can the NHS collaborate with the tech sector?

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  • Posted:Tuesday 11 July 2017

Elizabeth Dymond, Diabetes Digital Coach Project Lead, West of England Academic Health Science Network discusses how the NHS can collaborate with the tech sector.

This presentation was recorded at our Digital Health and Care Congress 2017 on 11 July 2017.


Just to tell you a little bit about our project, I’m from the West of England Academic Health Science Network and we are leading this large scale project where we are working with people with diabetes with all our stakeholders and this is what we are doing with our project, we’re about halfway through, offering people a choice of carefully selected tools to help them better self manage their condition and be more in control of their own care.  So we’re bringing together big topics around diabetes, around self-management and around digital and test beds are around combining these things and we’re definitely combining not just the technology and the people but a lot of cultural issues around understanding medical models and self-management, around understanding working with industry and partnerships and as well as working together more productively. 

This is a little bit about what we’re doing, we’ve got a single sign on website that you can access through a smart phone, a tablet or a desk top.  We’ve got five tools that have been selected that track health and wellbeing, insulin management, dietician support, they vary in terms some of them are coaching programs twelve week programs, some you dip in and use, but it is very much about the user choosing which tool suits them at that particular time.  That’s very briefly some of our objectives.  We’re looking at how we can extend this to other long term conditions as well and one of the key things that’s interesting we’ve got citizens owning their own data and being very much in control of who they wish to share it with.

To focus a little bit on how we’re working with our partners we’re the lead, we’ve got nine technology partners, some of those bring the digital self-management tools, some are building the platform involved in the information governance and appropriate storage and others are evaluation partners.  We’re also very well supported by Diabetes UK and some of their service champions.

So to think about how we’re working together and to just consider that.  We’ve got a lot of partners, we’ve got a complicated project we’re delivering in two short years which is quite a challenge for seeing changes in a long term condition, but to pick up on some of the earlier points it’s about finding … it’s finding the right partners.  It’s all about the people that you deal with, it’s all about the relationships, it’s about checking in regularly with people to make sure that we’re on the same page, we’ve got similar assumptions, it’s about building trust, it’s about building relationships and it’s about communicating.  I think those things are the same whether you’re dealing with a company, an SME, a large corporate, another organisation, another NHS organisation those principles still apply. 

I think also one of the things that we are developing is around the partnership working and being clear about how you’re going to work together, how you’re interacting, enabling collaborative behaviour, enabling people to bring solutions and also feeding that back and your new way of working back to your own internal stakeholders within your own organisation to make it clear and to challenge some of those other assumptions and to bring that learning forward and make it available. 
So that’s a very brief introduction to Diabetes Digital Coach and how we are working with our industry partners.