Five Essex NHS trusts, a county council and a university have formed a company to promote health and social care innovation.
The trusts, Essex County Council and Anglia Ruskin University, have formed a collaboration called the Anglia Health Partnership, with board members from each of the institutions involved.
The partnership will work on collaboration and integration tools, a significant number of which will include IT. One of its first projects will be to work on a bedside observation and clinical noting application.
The partnership is also looking at creating a standardised feedback tool and an electronic passport for staff.
The first project will be led by Basildon University Hospital, and will aim to "provide daily assurance of the quality of care received by in-patients using an iPad prototype for bedside documentation."
As part of this project, a range of nursing metrics – such as nutrition, feeding, pressure sores – will be defined and agreed.
Interim company director Professor Mike Salmon said the initial project list was in the very early stages and would be further considered over coming weeks and months.
“Basildon said ‘this is what we are doing’ and we said ‘let’s have a look at whether something like this approach could be adopted right across the partnership, to get a standardised process for recording the level of treatment and ensuring patient safety’,” he said.
Professor Salmon said a paper staff record had already been created at the South Essex Partnership NHS Trust, which might form the basis for the electronic staff passport.
The aim of this project would be to create an electronic record that could be easily transferred from one organisation to another to avoid repetitive, time-wasting training every time a member of staff moves employment.
Professor Salmon said using IT to improve services across the partners was high on the agenda.
“There’s so much good practice in the NHS but its never disseminated to other trusts which is quite ridiculous,” he said.
In a statement, the company said it had been formed because of the challenges facing health and social care.
It will try and identify areas in which savings or quality improvements can be made through collaborative working, commission research and education where appropriate, develop innovations and "where feasible, bring rapid solutions to market."
The NHS founding partners of the company are; Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust; The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust; Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; and South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.