Building population scale digital services in a crisis – Lessons from the frontline

Hosted by Axiologik

The COVID pandemic put unparalleled pressure on the NHS through rising levels of infection, reduced healthcare capacity and a workforce under extreme pressure. Digital technologies provided a unique opportunity to protect the front line by helping to identify the most at risk and enabling citizens to assess their own symptoms, book their coronavirus tests and arrange their own vaccinations.

To achieve this, complex, population-scale digital services need to be stood up at unprecedented speed whilst maintaining rigorous standards around safety and information governance.

At this session, we will hear about the approach, what went right, what didn’t and the lessons we can take back into our everyday lives. Over the course of the session, we will cover:


– The importance of user-centred design in reaching the most vulnerable and seldom-heard groups and how this was done at pace and at scale.

– The role of strong leadership and decision making in an uncertain world where there is often limited information.

– Digital engineering for scale – how we built services with scalability, performance and resilience in mind from day 1 and what we wished we’d done but didn’t.

– How we brought together teams from across organisational boundaries to deliver at speed, focusing on eliminating handoffs and maximising flow.

– The lessons we have learned and why we think they are relevant to everyday digital delivery.


Panellists include;

Ben Davison – Founder, Axiologik

Ben is a founding director at Axiologik and specialises in delivering large-scale digital transformations in complex environments. He is an expert in the establishment of sustainable product & service led operating models at scale and is a true believer in the combination of user-centred design, lean ways of working and mature engineering to deliver meaningful change at pace.

During the COVID pandemic, Ben was NHS Digital’s interim Executive Director of Product Development, with accountability for many of the NHS’s critical digital services, including direct responsibility for establishing the digital services for COVID Testing and COVID Vaccinations.


Professor Jonathan Benger – Chief Medical Officer, NHS Digital

Between May 2013 and July 2019 Jonathan was the National Clinical Director for Urgent Care at NHS England, and led reform of the ambulance services and wider emergency care system, including implementation of the NHS England review of Urgent and Emergency Care, the development of the NHS Long Term Plan and the Emergency Care Data Set.

Before 2013, Jonathan chaired the Clinical Effectiveness Committee of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and served on the College’s Council and Executive.


David Turner – CTO, NHSX

David joined NHSX in May 2020 as Chief Technology Officer. Prior to NHSX, David was Group CTO for William Hill where, in addition to managing an IT department of over 200 delivering the global trading platform for all William Hill divisions including the US, he was responsible for delivering digital transformation across the business, including the use of facial recognition technology. Previously, David was Head of Architecture, Innovation and Strategy at Hermes, where he founded the Hermes Digital Lab to focus on the future business strategy. He has also been Technical Architect at Actian and Technical Architect/Chief Programmer at HSBC. There, amongst other programmes, he was responsible for defining the technical architecture and mid-tier design for HSBC’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.


Ian Phoenix – Director of Intelligence and Digital, FCA

Ian is the Financial Conduct Authority’s Director of Intelligence and Digital, where he has responsibility for the FCA’s intelligence, digital and surveillance capabilities. Prior to joining FCA in June, Ian was NHS Digital’s Director of Citizen Health Technology, with responsibility for the NHS’s citizen facing national platforms, including the NHS website, the NHS App and NHS login. During COVID, Ian also led the programme to develop a national risk stratification platform which used big data and predictive modelling to identify the highest risk and most vulnerable members of society, for which he and his team won the prestigious Florence Nightingale Award for Excellence in Healthcare Data Analytics.

Community & Society, Healthtech & Medtech
Building population scale digital services in a crisis – Lessons from the frontline
21st Sep 2021 11:30am - 1:00pm
Hosted by Axiologik

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