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Review and Analysis of the Digital Health Sector and Skills for Scotland : A Report by the Digital Health and Care Institute in Partnership with Skills Development Scotland

Rimpiläinen, Sanna and Morrison, Ciarán and Rooney, Laura (2018) Review and Analysis of the Digital Health Sector and Skills for Scotland : A Report by the Digital Health and Care Institute in Partnership with Skills Development Scotland. [Report]

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Abstract

This report has been produced by the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), as commissioned by Skills Development Scotland to investigate and analyse the Digital Health sector and its skills issues in Scotland. The digital health sector is characterised as emerging from the conjunction of health and care services, mobile health and ICT, and it is one of the fastest growing economic sectors globally, hungry for skilled staff. In this report 'digital health' encompasses companies that produce, provide and service digital health solutions on the one hand, and health and care service providers that utilize and implement digital healthcare solutions and tools in the delivery of their services on the other. As the health and care sector catches up with the other economic sectors in digitization, the need for personnel in digital health and care both in the private and the public sectors increases exponentially. Digital health is a diverse, interdisciplinary sector, something that is reflected in the skills required in the field, ranging from higher level computing, such as software development and software engineering to project management and business-related skills. There is a specific lack of personnel who are proficient in ICT but also have an understanding of health and care. However, while the sector is finding it hard to find suitably skilled graduates, and to offer them competitive salaries, the unemployment among ICT graduates is higher than in other disciplines. Furthermore, currently there are only a handful of courses, and these only on post-graduate level, offering digital health education in Scotland. The biggest single factor restricting economic growth in the sector is the lack of suitably skilled personnel. Digital health is going to face severe challenges in the near future, if the disparity between what the education and training provision offers and what the digital health sector needs is not bridged. Currently, companies are using all available means to attract skilled employees, ranging from recruiting from other sectors to offering in-house training, internships, modern apprenticeships and industrial placements to students and graduates. In order for Scotland to capitalize on the expanding digital health market, it is vital to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of skilled workers entering into the sector. Based on the research discussed in this report the DHI have made several recommendations that focus on: * Reviewing the existing education and training provision with digital health in mind; * involving digital health employees more closely in the development of the curricula in computing and health and care; and * Raising the profile of digital health sector in Scotland.