Recently Emma (HMA’s Client Services Director) and I attended the third Digital Health and Wellbeing Ecosystem event organised by the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health and Science Network (AHSN).

The previous two events have been really informative so we had high expectations – and we weren’t disappointed!

The subject of the event was Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) which are in place to help ensure that health and care services are built around the needs of local populations and evolve to become sustainable in line with the Five Year Forward View.

As the recent winner of the Yorkshire & Humber Connected Healthcare Design Challenge, we were also invited to share our experiences of building relationships in order to understand unmet need.

Prior to the event, I was certainly one of the people that needed the subject of STPs demystifying but as a speaker on the day, I was keen to learn about the plans in advance so that I could align my presentation with the subject area.

As we’ve got to understand more about STPs, it’s become clear that there are a number of opportunities for the commercial sector to respond to plans within each of the footprints and I believe that the devolution in this form could:

  • Make local initiatives more accessible
  • Promote the sharing of ideas
  • Encourage collaborative working
  • Facilitate long term partnerships

As the sustainability and transformation plans are in their infancy at the moment, there may not yet be the granularity to get projects on the agenda frequently but on this occasion, it has opened up doors to enable us to start discussing our digital health projects with Trusts within the South Yorkshire and Bassettlaw STP footprint to initiate a co-fund, co-reward collaborative model to move our project forward.

The rest of the agenda was packed with some great speakers…

Liz Ashall-Payne introduced the role of the ECH Alliance and its membership and how the focus is moving outside of just Europe to become an organisation with global reach.

Ian Sharp introduced the vision and purpose of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone which is in place to create a global impact on people’s lives through revolutionising health and social care with digital innovations.

One of the most interesting presentations came from Rob Webster, Chief Executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership. He took us back to basics to explain what STPs are, how they are working in practice and summed up the approach of joined up care nicely by stating “The NHS is a guest in people’s lives”.

Victoria McGregor-Riley from Sheffield CCG presented the outline of their local digital roadmap, the progress to date and the importance of co-design when responding to needs at a local, regional or national level.

Roz Davies from Sheffield-based Recovery Enterprises shared the findings of the Patients as Partners 2016 event which explored the concept of co-design further.

An update on the Sheffield City Region Test Bed collaboration and how partners are working together to pioneer and evaluate the use of novel combinations of interconnected devices to deliver care to people with long term conditions was also an eye-opener as I’d not really heard much about this since the announcement in January.

Just before we were treated to a fantastic lunch, there were several breakout sessions – I attended the session run by Roz Davies from Recovery Enterprises and Victoria Betton from mHabitat on improving how we co-design health and social care which brought about an interesting discussion around mindsets that can help to get the most out of the process of co-design. They also introduced the #YHDigitalCitizen network which will be part of the wider Digital Health and Wellbeing Expert Advisory Board within Yorkshire and Humber. You can find out more about this initiative at

All in all, a great event and I’m already looking forward to the next one on the 14th September!