About the Digital Futures Programme

Using education to prepare the clinical workforce to deliver the digital future

The Digital Futures Programme is a scheme within The NHS Digital Academy’s learning portfolio which offers the opportunity for 3 senior leaders from a single ICS/STP to work together as one team. Each member of the trio represents a different area of the system, a Senior Clinician, or Healthcare Manager, a Local Authority Lead and a Senior Educationalist.

Together the team must deliver a field project incorporating digital solutions to resolve problems around efficiency and equity of access to health and care and improve citizen/patient-clinician/practitioner relationships.

It is very important that teams are not only diverse in profession but also diverse in terms of protected characteristics, such as race, age, gender, and sexual orientation. We believe a diverse team is better equipped to provide solutions that tackle the problems of the distinct population that they serve, and it also enhances the participants overall experience of the programme.

The programme consists of two 6-day residential modules. Between the residential modules, teams will be required to identify and work on and complete a project which is aligned to the delivery of a significant challenge for their ICS/STP, with direct support offered throughout the course.

The programme integrates the latest scientific evidence on digital technology innovation, change management, leadership, project management and project-based team learning. This breadth of content equips delegates to become effective contributors to the transformational change associated with rapid advancements in digital health care technology The programme is directly aligned to the vision, priorities and current workforce needs as highlighted in The Topol Review, “Preparing the Healthcare Workforce to Deliver the Digital Future, 2019.”

The first two cohorts have been delivered through a partnership with Yale University and Relentless Leadership Company and previous delegates have been very positive in their feedback. The learning is through a mix of face-to-face residentials and supported team delivery. We are currently finalising contractual arrangements to enable us to commission more learning cohorts and we are working to a proposed November 2022 start for the next cohort.

Eligibility for the programme

The full programme cohort will comprise a total of 30 delegates working in ten teams of three. It is aimed at groups of senior leaders as described below. The 2022/23 cohort will be made up of teams from within an ICSs or STP footprint Each of the ten ‘trios’ should include the following:

  • A Senior Educationalist, someone working in education at a senior level in areas such as Higher Education institutions (HEIs) with evidence of senior responsibility, Postgraduate Dean, Medical Educator (including |GP Trainer/Education Lead), Nurse Educator, Social Work Educator, AHP, Science or Pharmacy Educator.
  • Local Authority Lead, with a digital lead responsibility or responsibility for transformation and an interest in the digital agenda.
  • A Senior Clinician or Manager, from an ICS or STP with lead responsibility for transformation and an interest in the digital agenda.