What Good Looks Like NHS Framework What Good Looks Like NHS Framework Explained

What Good Looks Like NHS Framework Explained


Care Learning

4 mins READ

The “What Good Looks Like” NHS Framework is a pivotal document devised to guide the National Health Service (NHS) in England towards achieving excellence in the digital transformation of health and care services.

Launched by NHSX, now part of the NHS England Transformation Directorate, in 2021, this framework aims to establish a coherent and unified vision of what successful digital transformation should embody within healthcare settings.

The framework is structured around seven key success measures, each encapsulating specific requirements and principles that NHS organisations are expected to meet. Here’s a detailed breakdown:


  • Leadership teams should be digitally literate and capable of driving the digital agenda.
  • Digital leadership should be visible across all levels, embedding a culture that values innovation.
  • Governance structures must support effective decision-making and accountability in digital initiatives.

Ensure Smart Foundations:

  • Robust, modern infrastructure is essential, with resilient and secure networks that ensure data flow seamlessly.
  • All systems should be up-to-date, interoperable, and support the integration of new technologies.
  • An emphasis on cybersecurity is imperative to protect patient data and ensure trust.

Safe Practice:

  • Digital systems and data should be used to enhance patient safety.
  • Reliable systems should be in place for the reporting and management of incidents.
  • Ensuring compliance with data protection regulations and safeguarding standards is non-negotiable.

Support People:

  • Staff across the NHS must be equipped with the necessary digital skills.
  • Continuous training and development opportunities should be provided.
  • A digital workplace culture should be fostered, encouraging the adoption and utilisation of new technologies.

Empower Citizens:

  • Patients and the public should have access to their health information and be able to manage their own health and care more effectively.
  • Digital tools should be user-friendly and accessible, providing patients with reliable, personalised information.
  • Efforts to reduce digital exclusion must be a priority, ensuring equitable access for all demographics.

Improve Care:

  • Data should be harnessed to drive improvements in the quality and safety of care.
  • Clinicians should have timely access to complete patient information to support decision-making.
  • Innovations such as telemedicine and remote monitoring should be adopted where appropriate to enhance care delivery.

Healthy Populations:

  • Population health management should be supported by comprehensive, interoperable data systems.
  • Data-driven insights should guide proactive, preventative care approaches.
  • Collaborative working across health and social care boundaries should be enabled by shared digital infrastructure and data.

How can healthcare providers meet the framework?

To meet the “What Good Looks Like” (WGLL) NHS Framework, healthcare providers should undertake a series of strategic actions aligned with the framework’s seven key success measures.

Here’s an in-depth look at how healthcare providers can achieve alignment with each measure:


  • Develop Digital Leadership: Invest in training programmes to enhance the digital literacy of leadership teams. Encourage leaders to champion digital transformation initiatives.
  • Establish Strong Governance: Create governance structures that support decision-making around digital projects. This includes regular review meetings, clear role assignments, and accountability mechanisms.
  • Foster a Digital Culture: Promote a culture of innovation and digital thinking throughout the organisation, encouraging staff at all levels to engage with and support digital transformation.

Ensure Smart Foundations:

  • Upgrade Infrastructure: Ensure IT infrastructure is modern, scalable, and secure. This includes upgrading hardware, software, and network systems to support new technologies.
  • Achieve Interoperability: Work towards adopting interoperable systems that can easily exchange information with other NHS organisations and care providers.
  • Focus on Cybersecurity: Implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect data and maintain trust. Conduct regular audits and training to ensure compliance with security standards.

Safe Practice:

  • Utilise Digital Tools for Safety: Implement digital tools that can enhance patient safety, such as electronic prescribing and decision support systems.
  • Incident Management: Establish reliable systems for reporting and managing incidents. Use digital systems to analyse data and prevent future occurrences.
  • Compliance and Safeguarding: Ensure all digital practices comply with data protection regulations and safeguarding standards. Regularly review and update policies.

Support People:

  • Training and Development: Provide continuous training opportunities to build digital skills among staff. This can include workshops, e-learning modules, and on-the-job training.
  • Engage Staff: Actively involve staff in digital initiatives, seeking their input and feedback. Use change management techniques to support staff as they adapt to new technologies.
  • Promote Digital Inclusivity: Ensure that the digital workplace environment is inclusive, accessible, and supportive for all employees.

Empower Citizens:

  • Provide Access to Information: Develop platforms and tools that allow patients to access their health information easily. This includes patient portals and mobile applications.
  • Educational Resources: Provide educational materials to help patients understand and effectively use digital tools. Offer support for those who are less digitally literate.
  • Combat Digital Exclusion: Implement strategies to reach and support populations that are at risk of digital exclusion. This might involve community outreach programmes and partnerships with local organisations.

Improve Care:

  • Utilise Data for Quality Improvement: Leverage data analytics to identify areas for improvement in care quality and safety. Use this data to inform clinical practices and decision-making.
  • Access to Information: Ensure that clinicians have timely access to comprehensive patient information through integrated electronic health records.
  • Adopt Innovations in Care Delivery: Explore and implement innovative care delivery models such as telemedicine, remote monitoring, and mobile health apps where suitable.

Healthy Populations:

  • Population Health Management: Develop and implement systems for aggregating and analysing health data to better understand and manage population health. This includes predictive analytics to identify at-risk populations and drive preventative care efforts.
  • Promote Data Sharing: Facilitate data sharing across health and social care services to enable a more coordinated approach to patient care.
  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Foster collaborative partnerships with other NHS organisations, social care providers, and community services. Work towards shared goals and integrated care pathways supported by digital tools.

Healthcare providers should also regularly review their progress against the WGLL framework, using it as a benchmark for continuous improvement. Engaging with staff, patients, and community stakeholders to gather feedback and insights can also drive successful alignment with the framework’s principles.

By taking these comprehensive steps, healthcare providers can effectively meet the WGLL standards and contribute to a more efficient, patient-centred, and digitally enhanced NHS.

Final Thoughts

The “What Good Looks Like” framework is not merely a technical guide, but a comprehensive blueprint for embedding a digital ethos throughout the NHS.

By following these principles, NHS organisations can ensure they are providing safe, effective, and patient-centred care in an increasingly digital world.

The framework also underscores the importance of continuous learning and adaptation to new digital challenges and opportunities, ensuring that the NHS remains resilient and future-ready.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

You cannot copy content of this page