Videos from previous Cohorts

The below videos were recorded during previous recruitment campaigns for the Digital Health Leadership Programme.

Important: Information

Please be aware some details on the dates and application process for Cohort 5 will differ to the details included in these videos.

Hear from our digital leaders

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I think the Digital Academy is really, really important

because without the workforce

that's got the digital knowledge

and skills - and I include in that the leadership skills,

the skills in clinical change,

and then the expert knowledge about data science

and leading technology changes -

we can't transform our NHS.

We can't transform the way we work.

And as we've seen in the COVID pandemic,

you know, there's a real advantage

to working with digital technologies.

It can really help us to change the way we work,

to deliver the long-term plan,

bring care closer to patients.

The first, really, is around

supporting our own continuous professional development.

So, clearly, technology and digital services

are always rapidly changing.

And to ensure that we can deliver

the best of modern digital methodologies and technologies,

it's important that we engage with the Academy

to provide that continuous professional development,

alongside some of our affiliations

with professional and registered bodies in this space.

The move of informatics being simply a support function

to being the heart

of how we enable better processes of care

is super critical.

And we're seeing it.

We're seeing it now

in a wide variety of organisations

that those with digital informatic skills

are being asked, with the greatest range of people,

with the greatest range of skills,

to take part in those processes.

This is a real opportunity to look at digital in a way

that helps you understand how you can integrate systems,

how you get data out.

So we're not digitalising services for digital's sake.

We're really doing that so that we can get data

and insights from the digital processes.

But also, in that transformation,

we can actually reduce burden to the organisations,

make sure that we're collecting the data

in the most effective way and most complete and most timely,

all those things that informaticians

have been struggling with in the NHS.

This is a really good opportunity

to see how digitalisation can help you in that context.

I think it supports in a number of ways.

Firstly, obviously, with the content.

So, the very carefully considered content

to make sure that people do have the requisite knowledge

and skills to lead digital transformation.

But importantly, as well, I think it's about the community

and the network that's built.

And that goes way beyond that learning

and well on into people's careers.

(Upbeat music)

So, for data and analytics colleagues,

I'm really keen that you participate in this course.

I think it's a great programme.

It would give you grounded information

around what digital transformation is.

It's quite a practical course

and also will actually allow you to start understanding

how data and analytics are actually, hand in hand,

necessary with digital transformation.

We need many more nurses and midwives

and people from all professional backgrounds

and people with more - with very diverse backgrounds

beyond their professional role.

So, thinking of people from the protected groups as well

so that we have real diversity of thought in the classroom

that then comes back out into the workplace,

in order to deliver really good digital solutions

and digital advancements in the way that we work.

But not only do we need more CCIOs throughout the NHS,

we need a clear pipeline of future CCIOs,

of people who have shown a strong interest

in these sorts of clinical changes,

but who are not yet, understandably,

ready to become CCIOs themselves,

who want projects to take part in,

who want this to be alongside their day job,

with a view to taking on the significant responsibility

of being a CCIO at some point in the future.

And I think it's really important,

as leaders

with the wider expert professionals in this field

that we create that vibrant community

that could be of benefit in a number of ways,

just simply networking,

exchanging ideas and thoughts,

but also the opportunities of collaborating on agendas

and programmes where they do exist as well.

So, I think there's quite a lot in it for us as CIO leaders

in engaging with such a great agenda.

(Upbeat music)

We spoke to some of our digital leaders including Dr Natasha Phillips (NHSX CNIO), Sonia Patel (NHSX CIO), Simon Eccles (NHSX Deputy Chief Executive and CCIO for Health and Care) and Ming Tang (NHS England and Improvement Chief Data and Analytics Officer) about why they think the Digital Health Leadership Programme is important and how it is going to support the professional development of our staff.

Dr Natasha Phillips RN on the Digital Health Leadership Programme

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(Upbeat music)

I think the Digital Academy is really, really important

because without the workforce

that's got the digital knowledge and skills -

and I include in that the leadership skills,

the skills in clinical change,

and then the expert knowledge about data science

and leading technology changes -

we can't transform our NHS,

we can't transform the way we work

and as we've seen in the COVID pandemic,

there's a real advantage

to working with digital technologies.

It can really help us to change the way we work,

to deliver the long-term plan,

bring care closer to patients.

Things have fundamentally shifted and now more than ever,

we need people with the knowledge and skills to lead

that change and to consolidate what we've done thus far

and take the best of it and think about the what next.

So the Academy is particularly good

at developing leaders for digital change

and it's really important that we have those

from all clinical professions

and from other professional groups

who work daily in delivering healthcare.

(Upbeat music)

I think it supports in a number of ways.

Firstly, obviously, with the content,

so the very carefully considered content

to make sure that people do have the requisite knowledge

and skills to lead digital transformation.

But importantly, as well, I think it's about the community

and the network that's built.

And that goes way beyond that learning

and well on into people's careers.

If I think of my own experience of doing a scholarship,

so I did a Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship

some years ago.

To me, I describe that as the gift that keeps giving

because, even now, I still feel the benefits of that

and still reach out to the people

that were either in my cohort, in other cohorts,

or I was afforded the opportunity of connecting with

through the programme that help me in my day-to-day work.

(Upbeat music)

Nurses and midwives make up a third of the workforce,

so it's fundamental that they're there.

I think when digital transformation is done well,

we consider people, process and technology.

That means having deep, expert knowledge

about the work that you do

and then how technology can support that.

Nurses have been under-represented in this space

and so often it's commented on, by nurses and others,

we see it in practice, that they're digitally done-to.

They end up with change

that doesn't really help them do their work,

and that's bad for nurses, it's bad for patients

and it's bad for everyone because ultimately,

we find we have a problem with adoption.

So we are going to need lots of nurse leaders

who are able to articulate what nursing does,

bring that specialist knowledge

together with the knowledge they get

through a programme like this,

to lead the profession forward with others,

and we definitely need to do that with others.

This is about bringing

everybody's collective individual expertise

to the challenges to make it work,

so they get to be part of a community of digital leaders

from all sorts of professions: doctors, AHPs,

informaticians and operational managers,

all coming together to learn together

to go back into the workplace

to make a difference for our patients.

(Upbeat music)

Dr Natasha Phillips RN, Chief Nursing Information Officer at NHSX tells us why the Digital Health Leadership Programme has an important role to play in supporting the professionalism of our workforce.

Alumni from Cohort 3

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(upbeat music)

Jasmeen Islam - Yes, so I had attended a National Health Tech conference

that year, and had heard about the program from a speaker

who I subsequently had a conversation with,

and it was a really valuable conversation

because they encouraged me to apply for the program.

There were only two weeks left to apply,

and so I spoke with a couple of other people

who'd been on the program

and there was so much positive feedback.

I'd had some ideas about health technology,

and I felt that the program could support me

to turn these into reality.

Nikki Khallon - I learned about the Digital Academy

from being on Digital Pioneer Fellowship scheme,

and I thought that this would be a great opportunity

to further my development. And having seen

what previous cohorts had been doing

in digital transformation, digital innovation,

and the amazing barriers that they've been breaking down,

I thought like I wanted to be part of this movement.

Natasha Walton - It's one of those things I'd heard in the background,

but never really thought it'd interest me, specifically,

because I really thought it was more

for clinical digital people, so CCIOs mainly,

and I hadn't really given it any more thought.

Then I spoke to a couple of people

who had applied on cohort 1

and was surprisingly shocked that they had applied

and thought, "Ooh, you don't fit the cohort

"I thought was eligible," but again,

really, just thought, "Hmm, interesting."

Then I heard some of my friends applying for cohort 2

and suddenly realized, "I think I'm missing out

"on something here." (upbeat music)

Jasmeen Islam - Virtual residentials are a really good opportunity

to consolidate some of the learning

and to hear from digital leaders

in a variety of roles across the country.

The people in my peer group are absolutely amazing.

I feel like we are a family,

and there's so much motivation, support, and encouragement

that goes on across the peer group.

Nikki Khallon - For me, I think that the most important part

of the learning so far has been around using theory,

in strategy design and strategy development,

and how it can benefit digital interventions.

Natasha Walton - My most favorite part of this program is the people.

The peer group that I've got are amazing.

Some of them I already knew, which was surprising,

because we had known each other very much in days

of work formats, we go to meetings together,

we knew about each other.

They became part of my peer network group,

and we're going through the digital academy together,

and we've really got to know each other

and support each other, so I've found that side of it

really really fantastic. And it's also allowed me

to almost have a better understanding of health care

in the Southeast where I work and my peer group are part of,

in a much different light,

because I've been speaking to clinicians,

so I'm seeing it from their side.

I understand now some of the pressures

that the national team give to them

and I work in the national team,

so it's really opened my eyes. And more importantly,

I've got a great group of people that I can rely on.

We've really supported each other through this program.

(upbeat music)

Jasmeen Islam - In terms of the challenge, a lot of this is online,

so you do need to be incredibly self-motivated

to take the work forward.

It has been challenging due to the pandemic,

pressures in the workplace,

and fitting things around those pressures in work,

so working in the evenings and weekends.

I knew it would be really hard,

and it'd be tough when I joined,

but at the same time, it's incredibly rewarding

to have the learning outcomes at the end of it.

Nikki Khallon - Part of the program involves self-reflection

and being able to criticize

your own biases and your own learning.

That's been slightly challenging for me. However, I can see the benefit of doing that

because it embraces a culture of learning and development

which you can then take back to your workplace.

Natasha Walton - Even when I got into the Digital Academy,

I thought, "Will I be able to do this?"

I knew it was going to be hard work,

and when I first got into doing

the academic side of it, which I hadn't done for some time,

initially I was a bit like, "Oh my goodness me,

"what have I got myself in for?"

But actually, again, the teaching staff are great,

they're really supportive, and my peer group

have supported me all the way through it. So, although it's hard, I'm not going to lie,

it's not an easy program to be part of, it is worth it.

(upbeat music)

Jasmeen Islam - I feel that the reflective journals have really helped me

to bring theoretical knowledge to life and work,

and understand how theory can be applied into practice.

So for instance, the current reflection

on the subject of technology strategy

and health information systems is strongly aligned

to my program of work, so it's really valuable.

Natasha Walton - In my current role, I think being part of Digital Academy,

what has really helped me with,

is, as I said, think a bit differently

about the current role that I have,

and therefore, more importantly, what influence I had.

Maybe I didn't realize how much influence I had

in my role. So, that's been really refreshing,

because not only have I got influence

in what I do from a regional and national point of view,

in terms of policy setting,

in terms of where we can really make a difference,

in terms of digital transformation,

I've also now got access to other people

who've been on the Digital Academy

who also feel the same way.

As an individual, it's made me think about my personality,

what my strengths and weaknesses are,

where I should be investing a bit more of my time.

Also, I think for me, where I can be

helping others similar to me,

so how do I help other black women realize their potential, how do I encourage them to go into programs like this, how do I help women in general

be part of the digital transformation program.

(upbeat music)

Jasmeen Islam - So I guess when I applied, I really didn't think

that I would be successful in the application process.

I thought there were other professionals

more eligible than myself.

I didn't think I was qualified enough to apply,

and I knew how competitive it was to get onto the program.

So, I was really really surprised when I'd heard

that the application was successful. And I would say that if you have an interest in the area,

and you love learning, then to absolutely go for it,

and to put in an application, and to see where it takes you.

Nikki Khallon - Being on the Digital Academy allows you to meet

with like-minded people, and you'll find

that many of the cohort become people

that you would go to for support going forward.

It's also a great opportunity

to take your learning into a real life setting.

Natasha Walton - Do you know what has really stretched me?

I don't think you're ever going to have a chance

to be part of a program that is specific to the NHS,

which is great, and even more so,

specific to digital transformation, so,

that's the space that I work in. So, I would recommend

that anyone who wants to move forward in this space,

this is really a great course to be part of,

and the knowledge it gives you is great,

and you're part of a collective

of cohorts 1, 2, and 3. So, a load of like-minded people

that you know are behind you.

And even more importantly, if you wanted to,

you could upgrade to the master's,

that's a great opportunity for anybody who hasn't got one,

or wants another one, for example. So,

yeah, I would definitely recommend a lot more people

to go for it. And I don't limit it to CCIOs,

which is great, it's for anybody,

clinical or non-clinical. So, it's a really great opportunity to be part of that.

You can hear what some of our alumni from Cohort 3 had to say about why they think the Digital Health Leadership Programme is important and why they would encourage others to apply.

Rachel Dunscombe on Executive Sponsors

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So the sponsor's role,

I'm going to actually stand in the shoes of a sponsor now because I have been a sponsor.

So now, I'm actually going to reflect on the journey of four people that I'm pretty close to.

So, for John Llewellyn and Phill James

who were both my deputies at Salford NCA Group,

I was the sponsor for the academy.

And so I had to provide that support, particularly for John.

He did the MSc, and he needed quite a bit of sort of ad hoc support to sit down

and talk about what his final dissertation was going to be;

and make sure that that was valuable to Salford NCA as well

and that it was in tune with what was needed.

So John, who's top left, did the MSc;

Phill, bottom right, did the PDip.

And both of them obviously have passed.

They were both Cohort 1, and have both very much enjoyed the programme

in terms of, you know, its participation – the action learning sets.

And, in fact, John's action learning set does still meet post-programme,

and he finds that very valuable.

Emma, who's on the top right,

she's a delirium and dementia Consultant at Salford NCA Group.

She was part of the cohort last year, so Cohort 2.

And while I wasn't her sponsor,

I was her sort of line manager, as part of the CCIO team while I was at Salford NCA Group,

and was supporting Emma through that journey,

in particular really balancing her sort of, you know, work

and the programme and the time that it was taking,

because it was ten days of residentials a year and five to eight hours per week.

The other thing for Emma as well was looking at her job plan

and talking with some of the other clinicians in her space,

to make sure that they had a safe service while I was operating.

And then now – I don't know if it's Ian or one of the other good folk on the call who's George's sponsor,

but George was somebody that talked to me a lot before coming on the programme,

and again he is from Salford NCA, my former home.

And George is really, you know,

participating well in the programme

and is interacting really well with the organisation to make sure both he and the organisation benefits.

So, it's been a sort of journey for me in that sponsor and supporting role

from the organisational perspective.

But for me, it was about making sure that the participants

were able to actually go on those ten days of residential,

which are obviously virtual now but it's still that commitment;

and also, that they had that space to do the five to eight hours a week

of learning and engaging with the programme.

What's also needed is contact and supervision for your participant,

including one-to-one sessions

because I think regular contact is really important.

But ad hoc support is also needed.

As I said with John, there was a sense of exploring what was going to be really useful to the workplace,

as well as what was going to be useful to him.

And those conversations, I think,

will benefit both the organisation and the participant.

And I think it's also really important to get to know your participant,

who is all participants who are on the academy,

because as they grow on the academy,

you get more chance to leverage those skills.

And I will give you an example of actually John's peer group again from Cohort 1.

There are seven of them or eight of them – I can't remember.

It's seven plus John.

Every one of them on that – you know, on that peer group,

on that first programme,

have now taken on additional responsibilities or taken a promotion.

And, you know, that may be coincidence,

but it may well be because people have spotted the leadership skills

and the confidence that these individuals have gained

and enabled them to actually move forward in their careers.

And so, in terms of being the recipient of the – you know, the Digital Academy,

which is paid for nationally,

so it's actually paid for fully by HEE at this point in time,

it's really the recipient organisation’s, I would say, almost responsibility

to leverage that individual and the skills they come back with,

to make sure that you are able to get a leadership sort of capability

and transformational change.

So, the benefits:

what are the benefits of the academy?

I've got a little diagram here on the left about digital literacy and the digitally ready workforce.

But we did a very interesting piece of work with HEE

around the rate-limiting factors for transformational change in our system.

And unless we actually invest in the capacity

and capability for transformational change enabled by digital,

it will become the rate-limiting factor in its own right for that change.

And so skills are very, very important,

and those skills begin in our system with boards and with the academy participants,

so that the sister programme of the academy is the digitally ready board programme

which is being run by HEE.

And that's getting boards confident, competent to work

with digital leaders in transforming the system.

So the benefit really to your organisation in your locality

is that you're investing in leaders capable of working with boards

to implement transformational change enabled by digital.

And that's something that is increasingly in demand, especially after COVID.

We've all, you know, run very hard at digital outpatients

and remote consultation and all sorts of things that have enabled us.

But we've realised that we can actually transform the system with technology,

and so we've almost put the foot on the pedal of this transformational change agenda.

And so by actually putting participants on the programme,

you're creating that capability within your organisation.

By the nature of having digitally ready leaders in your organisation,

you're also creating the right environment for the rest of the workforce

to become digitally ready as well.

And so the – you know, the effect of actually having a digital lens leadership-wise

is that you consider that in learning, workforce development.

And that is something that really does need to be considered for the future.

In the next ten years,

we will need every member of staff to be digitally ready for the systems that we present.

And we will have every nurse as an E-nurse,

we will have this well and truly embedded within medical schools.

In fact, some nations have now started setting up digital medical schools.

And so really, by having people in the programme,

you're expediting that journey to make sure that there is a lens and a focus on digital

and that you're getting your workforce ready.

You're also enhancing a capability and capacity in leadership to examine technologies,

look at analytics, look at the future skills such as AI.

So, you know, you can have somebody there

that is able to sort of triage those future things

and look at when it's ready for your organisational locality to embrace it.

And you're also investing in the new registered professions,

in informatics and clinical informatics.

Now, you know, you may not be aware of this actually,

but we have a registered body for informatics professionals called FEDIP,

which includes the BCS.

And we also have a registered body called the Faculty of Clinical Informatics

for all types of clinicians working in digital health.

And as time sort of progresses,

more and more people are joining those bodies.

It is not mandatory at this point in time,

but at some point in the future it is likely to become the de facto standard for our professionalism.

And so investing in those registered professions again allows you

to, you know, have a solid base of those skills to hold you well for the future.

But I would encourage you to have a look at FEDIP and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics,

because that's very much the way in which professionalism is going within the NHS.

Rachel Dunscombe from Imperial College London talks about the role of Executive Sponsors in the Digital Health Leadership Programme.

Previous Cohort recruitment panels 

Cohort 4

Cohort 3

Related information