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NHS exemplar CIOs say it drives digital transformation

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The NHS England Global Digital Exemplars programme is benefiting and driving the technology transformation of healthcare, four CIOs from NHS Trusts that have been awarded exemplar status told peers at the recent Digital Healthcare conference in London.

The Global Digital Exemplar programme is awarded to NHS Trusts that are paper free and offering exceptional care and efficiency through the use of digital technology. Trusts who services go beyond the boundaries of the organisation and who act as references for the NHS are awarded the exemplar status. To date there are 12 Trusts with this status and four of these discussed the benefits of being awarded this status.

“The impact for me is that over the last two years we have stayed on course with the transformation budget and by being an exemplar we can now pick up the pace,” Stephen Docherty of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust said.

Digital exemplar status requires NHS Trusts to be implementing technology in a close and collaborative relationship with the clinical community within the trust. All the CIOs speaking described how being part of the exemplar programme had improved the relationship between technology and clinical communities in their trusts. Kevin Jarrold, CIO of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which has seven hospitals in the capital said exemplar status was enabling Imperial to “fund clinically founded transformation”.

“Clinical engagement accelerates what we can do,” said Peter Knight, Executive Director at the Oxford University Hospitals Trust and CIO. “The more we can digitise the more you can transform,” the Oxfordshire CIO added. “I can’t keep up with the demand and being an exemplar has turned on that demand.”

Stuart Hill of the Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust added: “We did have lessons from the implementation by having clinical involvement,” he said. Telling peers that the West country trust now has a programme board with clinical and nursing directors on it. “We also have a patient record advisory group to challenge the arrival of new pieces of paper.”

At the centre of being an exemplar for the CIOs and their NHS Trusts was an ability to improve patient care.  Jarrold at Imperial in London says that a digital patient record is the foundations for patient engagement, while Knight in Oxford is looking at the next generation of care: “We want to get into population health at scale as we will need to be doing more preventative care. To do that we want to use AI (artificial intelligence) and data to see how you learn and interpret and we are working with the university to do that. Docherty at South London and Maudsley (SLAM) NHS trust is also working towards the use of AI.

3G2A8415“Our Healthlocker gives people the ability to self manage and that changes the relationship between patients and clinicians, which is leading to AI,” he said. Docherty (pictured left) has pioneered the use of cloud computing at SLAM, with the trust being one of Microsoft’s largest health users of the Azure platform, as he’ll describe to this title in coming weeks. Being on the Azure cloud platform has enabled SLAM to use the Microsoft PowerBI data analytics platform to give the organisation greater visibility of issues such as bed availability.

Removing paper from trusts was key to the change management programmes. “We use the data to drive transformation,” Jarrold at Imperial said of how the London trust can now analyse its operations more effectively. Knight from Oxford agreed adding: “We are doing this to transform the way we care. And we are aiming to do it right first time as that way it will cost less.” Docherty at SLAM told peers that improving the processes benefited the staff: “Get your systems right and then your staff will be happy,” a point Knight also raised.

Jarrold’s trust is developing an App to improve staff shift hand overs, whilst Knight said: “I want no PCs on trolleys, iPads and RFID is more intuitive,” he said of ridding the wards of old technologies. 

The Digital Health conference follows in the wake of the Wannacry ransomeware attack that hit a large number of NHS trusts and businesses. Both Knight and Docherty – from trusts that had not suffered as a result of Wannacry – said the issue had focused the cyber-security debate at board level and of the importance of the CIO and their CCIO peers as senior leaders within NHS trusts.

Disclosure: Horizon Business Innovation editor and podcast host Mark Chillingworth was working at the Digital Healthcare conference as a moderator.

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About Mark Chillingworth 219 Articles
Mark Chillingworth has over 20 years of journalism and editing experience across all media platforms including online, live events, print magazines and television.
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