The application that works for my mum who has dementia will probably be written by someone with a mum who has dementia
- Matthew Swindells, NHS England's National Director
Providing digital health services for people is going to depend on contributions from inside and outside the NHS, and it needs an effective identity mechanism.
Matthew Swindells' telling comment at the NHS England's Empower the Person Conference reflected its importance for hundreds of thousands of people, and reflected a key point made by the national director for operations and information: that it's about building an ecosystem for innovation rather than a single perfect solution.
The event provided a platform for officials from NHS England and NHS Digital to outline the direction of work, with a recognition that there is an urgent need for more digital options to help the health service cope with intensifying pressure. The development of the ecosystem, in which people and companies outside the NHS make a big contribution in app development, was a recurring theme.