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Digital Foundations

Channel 3 digital foundations

COVID-19 and the pressures on the NHS mean that digital transformation is required more than ever.

Health and care organisations have transformed and scaled rapidly to enable, amongst other things, the workforce to work from home and service users to attend virtual consultations. What are these digital offerings built on in your organisation? How strong are the digital foundations that support them?

Digital foundations are the devices, data centres, networks, processes and people that underpin everything you offer in the digital domain. Within large organisations, they comprise many thousands of commodity devices and typically account for over 60% of IT budget.

The digital systems used by organisations are entirely reliant on digital foundations. When digital foundations work effectively, digital systems can then support the workforce, rather than hinder it. Where digital systems are constrained, unreliable or failing, an organisation’s ability to enact successful digital transformation is extremely limited.

Why do your digital foundations matter?

The best electronic patient record in the world can still fail to deliver positive change if it runs painfully slow on an ageing device or on an intermittent or slow wi-fi network. Ensuring your foundations deliver fast, reliable performance is essential to build trust in digital services across your organisation.

Wannacry, the most significant cyber-attack in the history of the NHS, occurred because NHS Trusts were unable to update their ageing IT infrastructure. Most cyber attacks are designed to exploit weaknesses in digital foundations, such as out-of-date software and susceptible processes.

Loss of IT systems is no longer just an IT issue. Outages of main IT systems, such as pathology services, patient administration systems and electronic patient records are now critical incidents that affect patient care. In addition to secure, resilient infrastructure designed to cope with technical failures, organisations need business continuity plans and processes that guide their users in how to maintain services in the event of a major system loss.

Digital equipment is expensive to run and support. By putting in place effective forward planning and a solid digital foundations strategy, organisations can ensure that equipment is used to full effect and isn’t left stored and unused. This approach also helps ensure that large-scale systems are not procured in isolation and as such operate well with the wider IT infrastructure, offering maximum return on investment.

Underinvestment in foundations over long periods can make it impossible to scale and transform your organisation digitally. Resilient, flexible and adaptable foundational services, supported by trained staff, are essential to allow your organisation to leverage the benefits of new technology to transform services over time.

How Channel 3 can help

We apply a tailored approach

Whilst many challenges in health and care IT are common, we know your organisation is unique. We are experienced in working with a wide variety of organisations, from councils to large acute trusts and ambulance services to name but a few, to help them to solve the challenges that are most important to them. We avoid using standardised improvement frameworks with our clients. Instead, we can work with you to build tailored plans to then pick from the best frameworks and bodies of knowledge that are most relevant to your needs.

We have a knowledgeable team of experts

Our team has a broad range of knowledge, experience and expertise drawn from all areas of health and care. We maintain excellent oversight of the digital health marketplace, policy landscape and innovation pipeline to ensure the advice we give and the plans we develop together are fit for the future.

Thorough risk identification and management

Digital foundations tend to be the unseen element of your transformation journey. As such, they tend to only be noticed when something fails, or they present a blocker to a new initiative. We can help you to conduct a wide-ranging assessment to identify your most pressing risks, in the delivery of day-to-day live services and the transformation roadmap of your organisation.

By building the case for investment

Understanding the risks posed by poor foundations, and the importance of having good ones is critical to gaining suitable investment. We have worked on national digital infrastructure reviews in NHS Wales and digital strategies and investment cases for many NHS providers looking at their strategic sourcing options and have a proven approach to helping our customers deliver compelling, relevant and successful long-term investment cases.

By establishing a strong partnership

At Channel 3 our purpose is to enable better lives, through better care, facilitated by better digital services. Above all else, we’re passionate about working with you to deliver real improvement and value to your workforce, patients and service users. We deliver end-to-end services that can assist you at any stage in your digital journey to ensure your digital foundations are strong and fit for the future.

Our digital foundations experts

Matthew Jones Channel 3 Consulting

Matthew Jones

Matthew has held a range of strategy and leadership roles in healthcare. Since joining Channel 3 he has designed and executed fully-assured programme delivery strategies and roadmaps, focussed on driving business transformation and benefits realisation enabled through technology.

Sarah Armitage

Sarah has been a consultant for the last eight years, specialising in IT transformation projects and procurement. Within the digital health space, she has recently been involved in two of the local health and care record exemplar programmes looking at interoperability and data sharing between different parts of the NHS and social care.