the healthcare prevention ben- efits it can land – and too often there has been a tension between competing national and local pri- orities. According to Crichton, the situation is improving with the realisation that government can’t do everything, and that setting the right technology standards at a national level and allowing local leaders to get on and do their job, is starting to emerge as a better model going forward. And recognising that the mar-

ket has moved away from massive IT procurement cycles, he says in- teroperability – bringing systems together to share important data – is increasingly where Servelec can add the greatest value. “We’ve been integrating things in the cloud through our platform, Conexes, which connects our software to other systems, not just our own,” says Crichton. “Imagine that your average public sector outfit will have a lot of legacy kit and it’s tremendously risky and expensive to change it; well, what we’re saying is that you don’t need to change it all at once, modernise what you need to, then all you really need to do is fill any con- nectivity gaps that greatly improve your processes and output.”

Using application programming interfaces (APIs), the platform has chalked up some notable recent wins. It has helped to link hos- pital patient discharge and social care records together for Notting- hamshire County Council, mak- ing the transition between acute and community care far more efficient, for both the authority and the end user. It’s not just cost and efficiency where such an approach is proving attractive to public sector digital leaders, as Crichton explains. “Going bit by bit might be far

more effective than the big bang,” he says. “Interoperability is far less scary from a systems trans- formation standpoint, as you can pick the pace you go at.” He adds: “And it takes a dif-

ferent view in that it says your ageing software may actually be largely ok, but what’s missing is modernising your processes, filling any gaps and connecting it up. Perhaps if you start with

Ian Crichton, CEO, Servelec

because it opens up access not just for us but for other suppliers as well, and I think good compe- tition is something that has been lacking for a long time.”

Going forward, there will be challenges for healthcare leaders as Covid-19 restrictions begin to be eased, as a result of pent-up demand in the system. Crichton believes, though, that digital health and care solutions have a role to play in helping to shoulder some of the burden. Digital therapies in particular,

that, you can move that agenda forward further.” A big piece of work for the

company follows from winning

an NHS Scotland contract to design and build a new Scot- tish Child Public Health and Wellbeing System, which goes live in summer 2022. Built on the company’s Rio platform, it’s an opportunity for a national single system to hold every child’s vaccination records, and much more besides. In software jargon, the system is being built accord- ing to “agile” principles, which allow developers to work on the product iteratively alongside the customer rather than design an overly prescriptive solution im- mune to change. Crichton says: “Credit must go

to NSS (NHS National Services Scotland) for working with us in this way, in the end we will finish with a software product that is made in an efficient, modern way. Tat isn’t always the case for a lot of public sector solutions, so I think of all the things we’re doing right now, this is probably the one that I’m most excited about.” Servelec has been carrying

out an industry engagement campaign in Scotland, hosting a series of virtual roundtables across the country, to try and better understand local needs. It has also recently joined a local government procurement frame- work – managed by Scotland Excel – for social care technology, which comes at a crucial time as

“What we’re trying to do more and more is to involve our customers in product development.”

Ian Crichton, chief executive, Servelec

the focus moves towards more of a self-service model.

In that context, Crichton mentions the recent Feeley review of adult social care, which called for digi- tal advancements to be embed- ded in adult social care, whilst emphasising that services must “remain person-centred”. He adds: “I think the Feeley

report is absolutely correct. And what we’re trying to do more and more is to involve our customers in product development so that we understand what they need, and what we can do better, but that takes time. Te challenge in Scotland is how do we make sure that public services get better engagement with the IT industry, so we can deliver to those aims. Getting on the Scotland Excel framework is a great step for us,

can support already stretched services in mental health, where there is likely to be significant pressure points post-pandemic. Servelec launched its Mood diary app, which integrates with its Rio electronic patient records system, and allows those being supported by mental health professionals to record their daily mood patterns, helping to keep them engaged with their own treatment and clinicians to better understand where intervention may be required. Servelec has also developed a

patient flow management solu- tion for hospitals called Flow, which uses real-time analytics and dashboards to give manag- ers better oversight of where pressure points are building up. Servelec has started to develop its systems so they can be accessed as software-as-a-service (SaaS), enabling smaller healthcare charities, for example, to utilise the product which ordinarily they might not be able to afford. It all forms part of what Crichton describes as his company’s “pur- pose”, which is to use technology to improve people’s lives. “We’re actually a pretty com-

mitted bunch of people who think we can use technology to make a difference and we’re keen to be given the opportunity to do it,” he says. “Our people really do believe in it; they work here because the more we do to join up systems, the more we have to invest back into improving people’s experience of care, reducing cost and enhancing service quality. And that’s a win- win for everyone.”l FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2021 | 17

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