Our mission is to :
support the creation and maintenance of a catalogue of standards and requirements to enable integration and interoperability across all health and care systems in a consistent and secure manner, and to support local innovation and the use of third party delivery partners.
from WTSB Terms of Reference
And we are working hard to build that catalogue.
But is that all we need to do?
We debated this during our March meeting, and it became clear that we will not have succeeded in our work if we simply published a list of standards on a webpage or bookshelf.
Instead, we must ensure that standards are practical and focused on solving real problems.
We must recognise that technical standards are an important enabler for the outcomes outlined in “A Healthier Wales” and the “Informed Health and Care” strategies and are required in a digital age to:
- Ensure that information is available when and where it is required
- Facilitate quicker and more soundly based decision making
- Reduce waste, cutting out repeated work
- Improve safety with fewer errors
As a result, rather than adopting an authoritarian approach to standards, I see our core function as building collaborative partnerships in which we work closely with stakeholders across health and care in Wales, and beyond. We are not an authority; we work in collaboration.
We witnessed this in our discussions; in this case, inviting domain expertise in pharmaceutical medicine in order to gain insights. We, as a board, bring a set of core principles and an approach predicated upon the use of standards as a force-for-good, our colleagues bring their problems and domain expertise and we work together and we learn.
In this way, our influence goes far beyond building a catalogue of standards, but instead, our work can be used to engender culture change, and inculcate a respect for the appropriate use of technical standards across health and care in Wales.
My conclusion? Standards, when done right, can drive positive culture change.