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Life Sciences in Scotland Industry Leadership Group Digital & Data Subgroup Opportunities and Priorities – Final Report


The report was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise’s Health for Wealth team on behalf of the Digital and Data subgroup of the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group (ILGDD). The work was overseen by Scottish Enterprise’s Health for Wealth team in collaboration with the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre. The report presents a candid view of Scotland’s digital and data situation in the health and care area and provides detailed recommendations to ensure Scotland regains a leadership position in this area. The objective of this report is to identify priorities for industry relating to data and digital health and care but selected for optimal synergies with priorities of other stakeholders such as the NHS and Scottish Government.


This priority list was developed from the review of over 100 documents from various sources (Scottish Government, Scottish health and care system, Scottish industry, UK Government, Office for Life Sciences, NHS England, along with other UK wide and international health and care digital and data related reports). A long list of priorities highlighted by these reports then informed semi-structured interviews with 20 senior stakeholders. This led to a shorter list of 7 key priorities.


Some of the key findings include: an absolute need to establish a “Once for Scotland” national data architecture and governance system; any previous Scottish national “edge” over other national / international competitors has already been or is currently being lost due the lack of a coherent national data plan. Research is going elsewhere. However, the prompt development and execution of a unified national plan may allow Scotland to leverage its inherent strengths and improve its position; recognition that there will be an over-riding priority to address waiting list pressures due to Covid-19; that a focus on completion of digitisation of the health and care system is an immediate and fundamental enabling capability to provide the IT platform that supports future advances; weary acceptance that the care sector is starting from a very low base of digitisation, is resource constrained (funding and digital skills) and operating in a complex, fragmented system; that the real value of AI and deployment of further enabling technologies will only be usefully achieved once the national data architecture and governance, and additional digitisation of the health and care system has progressed from its current state; the importance of the role of the ILGDD in thought leadership; the need to develop a coherent and accessible health and care opportunity pipeline, with transparent metrics against which progress could be measured, and alongside this “declutter” the health and care innovation ecosystem to facilitate navigation; the need to look widely at innovation “outside of the system” as not all Scottish companies will formally engage with / be engaged by the Scottish health and care system.


Recommendations from the report are structured round the seven priorities, set out in proposed priority order with outline time horizons: 1) national infrastructure, 2) thought Leadership, 3) opportunity analysis, 4) increased digitisation, 5) Data and Artificial Intelligence, 6) Further Enabling Technologies, Preventive Care and System Convergence and 7) “Outside of System” Innovation, Personal Wellness Technology & Data.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2022
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies, Life Sciences
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support