Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria (NENC)


As part of their Digital and Transformation Solutions, the Redmoor Health team offers a range of coaching programmes to Primary Care and Integrated Care Boards, aimed at supporting and coaching health and care staff on how to get the most out of people, systems and technology.

As part of their coaching work, Redmoor has extensive experience in developing and creating networks of Digital Champions nationally across the NHS. Digital Champions pay a crucial role in providing support to help people get online, improve processes at organisations and develop their own skills.

Aims & Objectives

Redmoor Health worked with Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria (NENC) to deliver a digital champions programme for anyone working or volunteering in general practice, dentistry, optometry or pharmacy in the two regions.

The free 12-month education programme was aimed at primary care staff who wanted to inspire others to embrace digital technology. The role supported the focus on digital products with an aim to:

  • Improve patient access
  • Manage the increase in demand for primary care services
  • Be visible and provide support to colleagues and help them to navigate the digital world with confidence
  • Promote digital technologies amongst primary care colleagues
  • Share best practice
  • Provide peer-to-peer support for colleagues through a digital champion network across the region


Over the past five years, the four pillars of primary care have dealt with increasing demands of not just a heavier workload but the increasing complexity and intensity of patient demand. By improving digital literacy skills of health and social care staff, the uptake and adoption of new digital tools and technologies can be improved, transforming the provision of care for the benefit of both staff and patients.

Covid-19 accelerated the rapid deployment of digital tools across health and care services, however these tools can only deliver maximum value when effectively adopted by staff and patients. Overcoming the barriers to adoption often starts with training – providing people with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to deliver safe and high quality digitally-enabled practice.

Barriers around confidence and knowledge can only be overcome by training and peer support, which is why the champions pay such a crucial role in providing support to help patients get online and help them develop their digital skills. As well as sharing knowledge, they play an important role on the ground in changing culture and behaviour, by encouraging and influencing both staff and patients to embrace change and try the digital options available to access care.

As well as inspiring communities to enjoy all the benefits that being online can bring, Digital Champions have a vital role in ensuring the voice of those who are unable to, or have difficulty accessing digital health technologies is also heard so there are no inequalities in care and any gaps are closed rather than widened.

The Redmoor Solution

Redmoor’s coaching programmes are designed in collaboration with our partners to equip participants with the necessary knowledge, tools, and support to drive digital transformation within their organisations, ensuring they can effectively meet regional healthcare goals and improve digital capabilities. They featured a comprehensive approach including webinars, how to guides and FAQ sheets, case studies, practical implementation periods and follow up sessions.

As part of the Digital Champions Coaching Programme, there was a focus on Cloud-based telephony, website improvements, modern general practice access models, patient access, and population health. There were three mandatory sessions, followed by a two month practical implementation period, and a follow-up session.


Redmoor used the best practice training model of action learning sets (ALS) to deliver the coaching. An action learning set (ALS) is a group of people within a workplace that meet with the specific intention of solving workplace problems. The main aim of an ALS is to come away with a set of realistic actions that will help to solve or understand the issues at hand.

Six cohorts of champions attended two virtual/remote sessions delivered by Redmoor Health. The first session introduced them to the programme and what was expected from them. It was an opportunity to learn about the programme, engagement in digital and online services and best practice examples across primary care services.

Champions also had access to mentorship opportunities and one-to-one drops in, networking with other professionals who have a passion for digital technology and innovation and events delivered in partnership with industry experts.

Before the first session, champions were asked to fill out a baseline questionnaire in order for their confidence and were given an action plan template to complete. They implemented digital into their roles over the first few months and had access to the Redmoor Health helpdesk for support at any point. There were also a variety of additional support sessions including drop-in sessions, showcase events, digital surgeries, mop up sessions and masterclasses.

The masterclasses featured a deep dive on specific topics requested by champions and the HI NENC team including Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, social media, quality improvement, AccuRx, smart messaging, the 8am rush, pharmacy referrals, NHS App, GPAD, reasonable adjustments and robotic process automation.

The second session gave champions the chance to come back together in their cohorts and showcase/discuss what they had been doing since the first session, how they had actioned their action plans and worked towards reaching their goals. They were also able to voice any issues they were facing and troubleshoot problems with the support of the Redmoor Health team and their peers. They also reviewed their actions plans and completed a follow-up questionnaire to assess how their confidence had grown.


The Digital Champions played a vital role in how digital technology was used and adopted across the North East and North Cumbria. As a result of the coaching programme, they came together as a network which will enabled them to share ideas and best practice, so they were benefiting from the experience and good practice, sharing lessons and growing their skills.

The digital programme has led to an increase in the adoption of digital products which has improved patient care and helped to manage the increase in demand for primary care services. It has also led to an increase in support for staff trying to navigate the digital world and peer to peer support using text messages for instance to remind patients about their appointments has reduced the number of Do Not Attends, which in turn saves money through staff and GP time. A total of 116 digital champions were coached and 76 action plans created. In total, 369 people attended one of the 12 masterclasses delivered.

For champions with a particular interest in a certain topic, five smaller working groups of support networks were created, giving them the opportunity to meet other champions outside their cohort and learn more about their best practice experiences.


Joanne Moulton, Digital Champion for Sunderland GP Alliance said: “My role was to visit all the practices in Sunderland and upgrade their websites. I enrolled in the Digital Champions programme because it gave me good insight into how to update the websites and how to promote digital to practices and engaging them in the digital world.”

Rob Henderson, Communications and Engagement lead who worked with two primary care networks in Newcastle said: “I got a much clearer understanding of what was best practice, the best things to do and the best way to present the information in a way that I had not previously thought of. Such things as website accessibility, the language, tone and content style we should be using, where to access digital assets such as images for instance was incredibly useful.”

Key Learnings

A key learning from the programme was the positive impact working groups had on those taking part. The feedback highlighted how valuable they had been in creating a peer support network and giving people the knowledge to go away and make changes to their systems/digital front doors. The website working group stood out in particular, members shared that after the first session they felt equipped with knowledge and confidence, allowing them to go and have conversations with their suppliers that they might not have necessarily done. Multiple members changed website suppliers after the initial working group as they understood contract requirements, and what their websites were lacking/what they should be able to offer patients.

Champions feedback that late afternoon sessions would work better for them (from 2pm onwards). The offer of different timings worked well as it offered flexibility to delegates.

Due to the pressures facing primary care, digital champions struggled for time in between the sessions to complete the questionnaires they were provided. In order to still measure improvements in confidence, the Redmoor team collated confidence scores using MS Teams polls. This worked well as it was an instant response and allowed us to see improvements in knowledge/confidence quickly. On average across all the cohorts in 2023/24, confidence scores grew from 5.7/10 to 8/10.

Whether it is by training and helping you use and embed technology, showcasing the great work you are doing, or helping you learn from experiences we have been part of elsewhere. Contact us to see how we can transform your digital practice.