Moray’s new Rural Centre of Excellence for Digital Health & Care Innovation: a hub for inclusive civic engagement for transformational social impact

The Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre (DHI) is one of Scotland’s Innovation Centres and offers a unique set of capabilities to transform health and care services. Funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council, the DHI is a national resource that supports partners to identify, develop, co-design and deliver transformative innovation to improve health and care services.

DHI considers that a person-centred model of service transformation is the most appropriate means and a key enabler of responsive and efficient public services as determined using insights gained over eight years and numerous projects (150+). Using this approach, DHI’s support has delivered service improvements which have been realised using participatory design methods. With the recent establishment of a Rural Centre of Excellence (RCE) in the Moray local authority area, there is an opportunity to re-enforce DHI’s engagement strategy so that inclusive engagement is embedded and prioritised as a core principle of the RCE, enabling a meaningful and sustained partnership with groups of people who may be marginalised or harder to reach. The RCE is one of a portfolio of initiatives funded by the Moray Growth Deal investment, aiming to level up the local economy and addressing inequalities and rural imbalances. The RCE aligns with existing local and national strategies aimed at transforming health and care through technology, and will also implement the Scottish Approach to Service Design (SAtSD) ensuring that meaningful involvement in the design of services is provided by contributors. With rural inequalities brought into sharp focus due to COVID-19, a renewed and concerted effort to ensure inclusion and enable a range of voices to participate in DHI’s work, is not only expected but there is also a clear and strong imperative to promote equal opportunities and embedding diversity, in line with our public sector duty.