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Scotland - Scottish Digital Health and Care Ecosystem is ECHAlliance Ecosystem of the Month – August

Scotland – Scottish Digital Health and Care Ecosystem is ECHAlliance Ecosystem of the Month – August
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This month we are featuring our Scottish Digital Health and Care Ecosystem as our Ecosystem of the Month. Adriana Díaz, Communities Manager, says: “The Scottish Digital Health and Care Ecosystem, led by the Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Care Directorate, is excellent in raising the profile of Scottish good practices and learning from UK and international colleagues about how to sustainably embed digital solutions to improve services for their citizens, including through their active involvement in EU Projects. Their current priorities focus on data, AI and digital health skills, among others, so don’t hesitate to reach them to work together on one or several of those topics.”

What is the approximate stakeholder breakdown of your ecosystem? 

The ECHAlliance Scottish Digital Health and Care Ecosystem is facilitated by the International Engagement Team of the Scottish Government Digital Health and Care Directorate. The ecosystem reflects a quadruple helix model which comprises organisations and teams working across health and social care, housing and third sector settings, alongside policy, academia, research and industry.  

What EU funding/collaboration are you involved with, or you would like to be part of? 

Members of the Scottish Ecosystem are keen to learn from and collaborate with international colleagues to identify and pursue funding opportunities relevant to our digital health and care ambitions.

We work closely with the Scottish Innovation Centres as well as Scottish Development International and the 3 Enterprise Agencies to identify solutions from both domestic and overseas entities that could be utilised in our health and social care systems. 

We strive to work to deliver a quadruple helix approach to innovation and our objectives, when we pursue funding and participation, include raising the profile of Scottish good practices and learning from our UK and international colleagues about how to sustainably embed digital solutions to improve services for our citizens. 

Ecosystem partners are actively engaged in many digital health and care projects. Some examples of recent projects include: 

  • ACSELL Accelerating SME Innovation capacities with a Living Lab approach. Funded by Interreg Europe. The Scottish Regional Stakeholder Group is an example of quadruple helix. In this example, the ‘helix’ model involves Scottish participants working on health and care, policy, research, Innovation Centres, alongside citizens and industry partners.
  • THCS Transforming Health and Care Systems – co-funded by the EU Horizon Europe Framework Programme and UKRI. THCS aims to support coordinated national and regional research and innovation programmes along with capacity building, networking, dissemination and other key activities to support health and care systems transformation.
  • P4H Procure 4 Health with 33 partners from 15 countries is structured to involve all relevant stakeholders in the innovation procurement pathway for health and social care, at the local, regional and European level.

What are the key priorities and themes for your ecosystem?  

In order to achieve our aims for digital health and care in Scotland, we are focusing on priority areas identified in the Scottish Digital, Data and A.I. Strategies alongside the Scottish Innovation Strategy. The digital health and care priority areas include: 

  • Data Access – supporting our citizens to have flexible digital access to services
  • Digital Services – ensuring appropriate digital options are available and accessible
  • Digital Foundations – the standards and governance are in place to support our digital ambitions 
  • Digital Skills and Leadership – building digital capabilities across the health and care workforce
  • Digital Futures – supporting a thriving innovative environment
  • Data-driven services and insight – data is harnessed to benefit of citizens, services and innovation. 

What is your primary strength as an ecosystem? 

Collaborative relationships across the sectors represented within the Scottish ecosystem are a recognised strength. Working together to deliver innovative services alongside our enthusiasm to share learning, good practice and collaborate with partners via our memberships of various international networks, including:

  • The ECHAlliance
  • The European Health Telematics Association (EHTEL)
  • European Regional Health Authorities (EUREGHA) 
  • Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 
  • the Reference Site Collaborative Network (RSCN)

The appetite to share learning is evidenced in our support for study visits by UK and international colleagues to Scotland and the organisation and delivery of a diverse programme of knowledge exchange activities taking place throughout the year. 

These knowledge exchange activities are anchored by DigiFest, our annual in-person and virtual programme of knowledge exchange activities, and conference which draw on the experiences and expertise of our international colleagues including ECHAlliance members.

The Scottish ecosystem has also had the pleasure of coordinating the first ECHAlliance Thematic Innovation Ecosystems on the topics of Digital Health & Wellbeing and Integrated Care.

Find out more at the Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Care and Technology Enabled Care activities and get in touch with the Ecosystem Coordinator, Nessa Barry, Nessa.Barry@nhs.scot for more information. 

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