Technology and Innovation in Health and Social Care


About the Inquiry

At the meeting on the 18 April 2017 the Committee agreed to undertake an inquiry into Technology and Innovation in Health and Social Care.

The Committee is keen to hear what key opportunities for innovation and the use of technology in health and social care are over the next ten years and whether this will lead to significant change in how the service is managed and delivered.

Digital technology has the potential to change the face of health and social care delivery. We want to find out whether enough is being done to realise that potential and to build a picture of how innovative an NHS we can expect to see in ten years’ time.

Innovation is going to be incredibly important in ensuring that services keep pace with technology and that systems are joined up and work for the whole of the NHS and care sector. We’re asking for views on whether the Scottish Government’s draft Digital Health and Social Care strategy meets those aspirations.


As the new Digital Health and Social Care Strategy 2017-2020 is due to be published at the end of 2017 the Committee has agreed to look back at the previous eHealth strategy and what this has achieved as well as looking forward to the new strategy.

  • An informal evidence session will be held with officials from the Scottish Government Technology Enabled Care and Digital Healthcare Innovation team and the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare. 
  • A call for written evidence will be issued.
  • A roundtable session with witnesses selected from the written submissions.
  • This will be followed by an evidence session with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport. 


Digital Strategy
The Scottish Government published A Digital Strategy for Scotland in March 2017. This aims to “ensure that Scotland is recognised throughout the world as a vibrant, inclusive, open and outward-looking digital nation”. In relation to public services it comments that: “The Scottish Government will create the conditions which encourage continuous innovation and improvement in our public services”.

Health and Social Care Delivery Plan
The Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Delivery Plan published, December 2016, noted that:

“Digital technology is key to transforming health and social care services so that care can become more person-centred. Empowering people to more actively manage their own health means changing and investing in new technologies and services, by, for example enabling everyone in Scotland to have online access to a summary of their Electronic Patient Record. The time is right to develop a fresh, broad vision of how health and social care service processes in Scotland should be further transformed making better use of digital technology and data. There is an opportunity to bring together all IT, digital services, tele-health and tele-care, business and clinical intelligence, predictive analytics, digital innovation and data use interests in health and social care.

Digital Health and Social Care Strategy 2017-2020
A draft vision for the new Digital Health and Social Care Strategy has been developed:

“As a citizen of Scotland: I have access to the digital information, tools and services I need to help maintain and improve my health and wellbeing. I expect my health and social care information to be captured electronically, integrated and shared securely to assist service staff and carers that need to see it, and that digital technology and data will be used appropriately and innovatively to help plan and improve services, enable research and economic development and ultimately improve outcomes for everyone.”

The Digital Health and Social Care Strategy 2017-2020 was planned for publication at the end of 2017.  It was published on 25 April 2018.

The new strategy is intended to: 

• Move from organisational-centred developments and architecture to placing the citizen at the centre;
• Make better use of data –both health & social care and citizen-generated –for decision support, service delivery, planning and research;
• Start to develop digital ecosystems around the individual, home & place;
• Create a permissive culture through improved leadership, workforce development and rebalancing our approach to risk;
• Foster a fertile environment for innovation and economic growth;
• Contribute to social care reform and supporting delivery of health & social care integration;
• Build on what we have, and spreading what works;
• Use guiding principles such as Citizen-centred; Data-Driven; Flexible; Familiar; Facilitative; Innovative; Safe & Efficient; Open.

Previous strategies
A number of technology strategies have preceded the new Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy 2017-2020. These fall into two categories: those which focused on telecare and telehealth and those focused on ehealth

eHealth Strategies:
• eHealth Strategy 2008-2011
• eHealth Strategy 2014-2017
• eHealth Strategy 2011-2017

Further information on the eHealth Strategy to 2017 can be found in the SPICe briefing eHealth in Scotland

Telecare and Telehealth Strategies:
• Seizing the Opportunity Telecare Strategy 2008-2010
• Telecare to 2012 An Action Plan for Scotland
• Scottish Centre for Telehealth Strategic Framework 2010-2012
• A National Telehealth and Telecare Delivery Plan for Scotland to 2015
• Supporting and Empowering Scotland’s Citizens: National Action Plan for Technology Enabled Care 2016

NHS 24 is a special health board responsible for the delivery of clinical assessment and triage, health advice and information by telephone and online services. It is also Scotland's provider of a national telehealth service.  The Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare sits within the governance, management and reporting structure of NHS 24. 


The Committee held formal oral evidence sessions on 3 October, 31 October and 7 November.


A call for views ran from 31 May 2017 to 12 July 2017.

Read the Call for Views



On 24 April 2018 the Scottish Government responded to our Report:

On 17 May 2018 the Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to follow-up on the Scottish Government's response to our report:

On 8 June the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport wrote to the Convener in response to the Committee's follow-up letter from 17 May 2018:

On 24 October the Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to follow-up on some outstanding information.

The Convener received a response on 23 May 2019.

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.