This month’s industry round-up features news Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has deployed a trust-wide data management system and a digital portal which has saved the NHS £2million through allowing patients to manage their appointments digitally.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals deploys trust-wide data management system

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is to deploy a trust-wide data management and integrated analytics platform.

The trust will use Connexica’s CXAIR software to pull data from various clinical and operational IT systems and consolidate it into a single view that will enable it to more easily identify performance issues.

Analytics generated from the integrated data will provide Sheffield Teaching Hospitals with insights it can act upon in order to improve operations and services around the organisation.

Connexica will also work with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to create a digital clinical assurance (DCA) system, which will monitor the quality of clinical service delivery.This will be used for recording clinical audits and providing assurance for the quality of clinical services.

Data captured by the system will be automatically fed back into the CXAIR analytics platform to provide “near real-time” reporting and highlight any issues to staff in a timely way.

Gary Luke, CEO at Connexica, said: “We are delighted to continue our good work within the NHS, adding real value and benefits through maximising the value of data NHS trust holds, with the new work at Sheffield both in data management and reporting but also through the creation of a new system to ensure compliance to good/recommended clinical practice.”

Digital portal delivers more than £2m savings

An award-winning digital portal introduced by hospitals across the country has delivered over £2million NHS postal savings and seen 1.6 million patients choose to go digital-first with their appointment letters.

First piloted by Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2017, 18 trusts across the country are now using the patient portal, which was developed by Healthcare Communications.

Since the launch of the technology 18 months ago, 1.6 million letters have been received by patients digitally. Patients have sent 131,455 notifications that their allocated appointments were either unneeded or inconvenient; quickly freeing up appointment availability for others and helping to reduce did not attend (DNA) rates.

Overall, 1.24 million patients chose to confirm, cancel or re-book using the portal.

Following its digital letter launch United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s DNA rate dropped from 5.8 per cent in September 2018 to 4.1 per cent in January 2019, compared to the national rate of 8.9%.

Other Trusts now using the patient portal include Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The latest trust to report impact is Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, which has saved more than £10,000 a month since introducing digital letters.

Katharine Fletcher, head of planned access at the trust, said: “Communicating with some of our patients in a paper format can be challenging, so we wanted to look at alternative ways to quickly deliver the information about their appointments.

“With the digital appointment letter, we know our patients are getting the information they need in real time and are able to download it directly onto their own electronic calendar so they are not forgetting to attend or losing the letter. Patients can also use the letter to self-check-in at the hospital for a smoother arrival process.

“When you capture the data on the time staff spend cancelling and rescheduling appointments, the savings are huge.”

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS wins national award

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (ICS) has won a national award for their innovative approach to tackling workforce issues.

The group of partners from South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw won the ‘impacting working inclusively across boundaries award’ for the joined up approach that all partners are taking in the region to finding innovative solutions to tackling workforce issues.

The ICS has developed a shared approach to eRostering and have been sharing best practice and data and successfully identifying areas where they could, by working together, increase efficiency, implement shared standards, and develop a region-wide sustainable workforce.

Kevan Taylor, workforce lead for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS, said: “Workforce issues in the NHS are well documented, not just in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw but nationwide. However through working together on eRostering and other initiatives we’ve found we can make improvements that make a positive difference.

“We’re delighted to have won an award that recognises the hard work and willingness of all our partners to come together and enable this work.”

The award was presented by chief executive of Allocate Software, Nick Wilson at the annual Allocate Awards on 16 October.

Northumbria Hospital employs start-up to track medical equipment

Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital has awarded FloKi Health a contract to implement innovative technology giving staff the power to find, track and manage essential medical equipment.

The Northumberland-based company has developed Bluetooth tracking technology, including a mobile app and intelligent dashboard, that allows hospitals to track, maintain and manage medical devices from the ward.

Ward staff can find tagged devices, such as bladder scanners and ultrasounds, using an app installed on hospital devices. Devices are also marked for repair and maintenance, which is then picked up by the medical device team.

At a management level, the trust can gain valuable insights into medical device management, including device compliance rate, lost/inactive devices and total device value.

Veronica Gingell, general manager for estates and facilities at the hospital, said: “We’re delighted to be working with FloKi Health to enable our staff to have quicker access to essential medical equipment, saving time previously spent searching for it. It also allows the medical device team to maintain compliance across the board, bringing valuable devices back into circulation.

“As hospital management, we also have insight into the location, compliance and value of all medical devices – all at our fingertips. We can now make smart decisions on everything from procurement to recruitment. We’re looking forward to rolling out FloKi hospital-wide.”

Rostering company Patchwork partners with Skills for Health

Skills for Health and digital rostering company Patchwork have partnered to bring innovation-led approaches to clinical staffing.

The partnership will focus on improving interoperability between NHS staffing systems and will bring together Patchwork’s award-winning bank staff platform with Skills for Health’s versatile Realtime Rostering software.

Working together both systems will deliver integrated e-rostering and bank staff solutions. The joined-up offering will reduce costs, save administrative time, increase bank fill rates and ensure clinical staff can easily source and secure shifts.

John Rogers, chief executive of Skills for Health, said: “As an organisation, we’re keen to forge partnerships with organisations that share our values in order to make the life of NHS staff easier, eliminate duplication, and reduce cost.

“Our partnership approach means we can flexibly deliver the best value and greatest benefit for our customers based on their specific needs.”

Dr Anas Nader, chief executive and co-founder of Patchwork, added: “By working together to integrate it with our tech-enabled bank solution, we can offer an even more comprehensive workforce solution to NHS Trusts across the UK.

“We want to ensure our systems are interoperable with other leading solutions on the market, so that trusts can continue to save money and create the best working environment for their staff.”

WebMD acquires Aptus Health

WebMD has acquired Aptus Health including it’s core brand Univadis, a global information and education platform delivering medical news, conference and research updates.

The acquisition includes Aptus Health’s EngagedMedia, which supports patient engagement and adherence via an integrated mobile messaging platform and Tomorrow Networks, which offers data-driven, location-based mobile advertising and marketing solutions.

The acquisition will combine the core competencies and scale of Aptus Health with that of WebMD and Medscape, the flagship consumer and health care professional brands in the WebMD network.

Bob Brisco, WebMD chief executive, said: “Aptus Health is highly complementary to WebMD’s existing professional and consumer brands, making them an excellent addition to our platforms. Together, we can leverage our combined strengths to extend our reach and engagement to health care professionals, patients and consumers.”