Maybe we should start to steer away from the label “digital transformation” as it seems grandiose, with wide and wild objectives, and is often unfortunately just an isolated “IT” project implementing modern technology.
Unfortunately digital transformation initiatives in the NHS are more often vanity projects of shiny new technology, such as AI, that might be the headline to drive (scare to) change and investment. But to get any value from this, firm foundations and far more tools, as well as holistic digital operating model business change is what is needed. In essence, establishing contemporary technology foundations should be a higher priority to enable modernising legacy systems and infrastructure and then strategically continue an evolution that will provide a digital operating NHS (and the same for other healthcare organisations and business, as many other industries suffer from the same).
Clinging to outdated ways of working and legacy systems, and the inability to appropriately invest in designing and planning digital transformation (beyond IT, or a single function/department) are significantly influenced by 1) leadership that has significant gaps in strategic operational sustainability and scalability, and are instead measured on immediate returns, and applauded for headline grabbing buzzword associated initiatives, 2) appropriate digital business expertise to understand the technology capability, limitations, and scope, scale and reality of delivering change and continuously improving, and 3) the NHS being a very fragmented organisation.
The need for digital transformation and the associated difficulty to change is the unfortunate result of not maintaining a contemporary state.