We held a roundtable on Tuesday 19 October as part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator showcase event discussing the challenges involved in implementing community diagnostic centres (CDCs).
The roundtable was attended by leaders at NHS England, Imperial College Health Partners, Academic Health Science Networks, Feedback Medical and others involved in supporting and delivering the CDC programme. Following a showcase presentation on Feedback Medical’s work to provide the digital infrastructure for CDCs, including our recently announced pilot scheme with Sussex Integrated Care System, the group discussed how the technology will be implemented to connect care providers across local areas.
While the CDC programme’s priority is addressing the elective care backlog, there is the opportunity for disruptive innovation. Representatives from NHS England shared the need to pursue early adopters for feedback on their key learnings, challenges and opportunities in implementing the CDC programme and then to share those learnings more broadly.
Feedback Medical CEO Dr Tom Oakley highlighted that clinicians easily adopt the behaviour change with asynchronous communication but the sticking point can be persuading IT and procurement departments in the NHS to implement new technology rapidly enough. Large enterprise solutions can be the fall back but don’t always provide the flexibility and interoperability that’s required. ‘Bring your own device’ policies and better WiFi are additional challenges to overcome within NHS organisations to maximise the benefits of mobile technology.
Cross-site access to diagnostic information, clear lines of accountability, good clinical governance for onward referrals, and appropriate funding flows were all recognised as important in the discussions. The NHS workforce is an ongoing issue but while artificial intelligence and outsourcing radiology can support, understanding the limitations and connectivity into the workflow are also challenges to work through effectively.
The discussion drew to a close focusing on data management and ownership, the need to have a common data standard across providers and filter out the level of granular detail relating to specific workflows that won’t be of interest to all.