Mapping Policies Relating to the Digital Transformation of Health and Care Sector and the Associated Workforce Skills and Capabilities in Scotland and the UK
The Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre (DHI) has been a long-term advocate for increasing the provision of digital health and care skills training and education in Scotland. The centre has produced several research documents and projects identifying skills and capability gaps in the sector, recommending changes to address them, as well running a digital health MSc scholarship programme to promote postgraduate skills development in Scotland’s digital health and care sector. Over the last year (2020-21), both the Scottish and the UK Governments have placed greater emphasis on expanding and improving the provision of digital skills and capabilities across all economic sectors. This is predicated on the growing skills gap as well as skills shortage that is inhibiting expansion of the entire digital technology sector, and in turn, of the digital health and care sector. The impact of COVID-19 on the national and global economies has seen an increase in the rhetoric surrounding the growth of current digital skills provision and the development of novel methods for training and education for these. The DHI, with a vast network of partners, are in the process of developing a National Campaign to address future workforce development questions in digital health and care. The work will include a campaign to raise awareness of the sector, create new educational pathways and opportunities and a pipeline of talent feeding into it. This work will focus on two broad categories of staff, as illustrated in the diagram below: first, we will work on creating a pipeline of talent leading to roles in the specialist digital health and care sector, and second, addressing the digital preparedness of the future frontline health and care staff working in the sector going through a digital transformation. The destination that the digital health and care specialist staff will work can be in the public, private or the third sector. Each of these sectors require digital health and care professionals, but the types of roles vary. Where the public sector needs more informaticians and data analysts, the private sector is in need of software developers and engineers.