Understanding what services your trust provides, and how these interconnect, is a critical step in building your digital strategy. All trusts usually have an A-Z list of services on their website which provides a great starting point. Mapping out your existing services will help you understand what is working well, what you need to fix, and – crucially - where to start.

Services in healthcare are a combination of:

  • Transactions like booking, referring, notifying, testing and prescribing
  • Care like consultations, hospital admissions and operations
  • Pathways that direct patients to the right services and treatments
  • Technology that underpins services
  • People and organisations that deliver services


Providing integrated care requires a holistic view of services across your system.

The Ministry of Justice mapped all the services provided by the department and its 30 agencies and public bodies, publishing the results online. They found 226 services, of which only 54 were digital services and only 27 of those met government digital standards.

Building a list like this will help you identify where you can have the biggest impact. The process itself helps you find gaps and opportunities to inform your strategy.

Key information to capture includes:

  • Volumes: how many times is this service used each year?
  • Cost per use: how much does it cost to provide this service?
  • Quality: how good is the service?
  • Digital take-up: what percentage of the volumes are delivered digitally?
  • Ownership: who is accountable for running and improving each service?
  • Opportunity: is this a service that could benefit from digital transformation and improvements in patient experience?


Building a strong understanding of the services your trust provides will help you set clear priorities in your digital strategy, giving some tangible examples of what will change for patients and staff through digital transformation.

You need to find a balance between digital transformation and simple digital redesign. There is no point talking about 2025 when people are frustrated with 2021 issues. You have to fix the “pebbles in the shoes'' in order to get buy-in for the truly transformational work. But in your strategy, position your benefits as outcomes rather than transactional KPIs.

Chris Bird    Executive Director of Partnerships, Strategy and Digital, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

Further reading