The green light for a £10million digital programme at one of the fast followers has been given the green light by NHS England. 

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which is a fast follower of the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE), Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, will receive funds to invest in digital technology and improved patient care systems across hospitals in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and North Manchester.

This will be made up of £5million national funding which the trust is expecting to match, taking the total to £10million.

Dr Georges Ng Man Kwong, consultant chest physician and CCIO at the trust, said: “Being a GDE fast follower provides us with a great opportunity to try, implement and, if necessary, modify and improve new technologies to support patient care following ‘blueprint’ principles and processes which have already been tested at Salford.

“Importantly the programme runs alongside our infrastructure improvement and future Electronic Patient Record (EPR) programmes which, as a whole, will enable us to achieve a digital future for healthcare.”

Over the coming months staff will be reviewing new technology and methodologies.

The first phase of the programme will explore how staff can use:

  • Digital task management app on wards – to improve patient task workflow and ultimately improve bed management with prompt discharge of patients
  • Virtual consultation, including state-of-the-art mobile robotics, to help discharge patients
  • New digital clinical decision support forms to support delirium and dementia, dietetics, VTE, stroke and FNOF pathways
  • Online appointment management system for patients– introducing booking and scheduling reminders for patients in the first phase

The trust also plans to use the funding to set up two new digital experience centres to showcase new technology to staff and patients, which will be based at Royal Oldham and Fairfield Hospitals.

The first wave of GDE blueprints were revealed earlier this month, which allow any NHS hospital to implement improvements quicker and transform care for both patients and staff.

But they will be “useless” without allocation of resources for trusts to teach others how to implement the programmes, according to Michael Fisher, CCIO of Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.

NHS England’s deputy chief executive has said GDEs must not become “havens” surrounded by “deserts” of paper records.

Speaking at the ‘Empowering people in a digital world’ conference on 13 February, Matthew Swindells said: “This is the first time the NHS had had a strategy where technology is at the absolute heart of it, so there’s a burden on everyone in the room to deliver the technology.”