Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust has struck a £25 million partnership deal with Japanese technology company Hitachi Consulting to improve care using data and digital technologies.

Dubbed the “digital control centre” the 10-year project, delivered in partnership with the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, aims to advance acute and integrated care at the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) hospital.

The result will be an “intelligent system” that reduces staffing cost and frees up beds, operating theatres and equipment.

Staff satisfaction will “markedly increase” as frustrations caused by a lack of information, chasing data and filing forms will be minimised using automated processes “in a manner that suits them and at a time when they need it”.

The first phase of the project, focused on urgent care, will introduce patient insights and flow management tools to provide staff with real-time information relating to attendance and admission history; key clinical indicators from patient history; admission risk; and standard patient scores.

Clinicians will be able to use this information to assign patients to the correct care pathways.

Raj Jain, chief executive of the Northern Care Alliance, said: “Supporting staff to determine and deliver these improvements is what is key. The technology is the innovation that enables staff to transform, but it is the staff that will deliver the benefits.

“We always strive to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time and this venture will absolutely allow us to do this. For staff, I am sure it can feel like a daily fire-fighting exercise to ensure our patients are admitted appropriately, that they get to see the right healthcare professionals, have the treatment they need and then are discharged appropriately.

“We believe this programme will revolutionise the system, enhancing the care and experience we offer to our patients.”

The programme will initially focus on Salford Royal, with a longer-term plan to develop into the Northern Care Alliance’s other sites.

Other partners including KPMG, ExtraMed, Microsoft and CenTrak are also providing their capabilities to shape the programme.

Paul Watson, vice president for healthcare in Europe, Middle East and Africa for Hitachi Consulting, added: “The control centre shows just how much power there is when you leverage digital tools to transform hospital operations.

“Working with the fantastic team at the Northern Care Alliance we will unlock more resources, enable faster access to actionable information, improve ways of working for staff and improve access to care, meaning local people will ultimately benefit from faster, more targeted care.”

The digital control centre will deliver capabilities across three core areas:

  1. Operational intelligence, strategic planning and simulation: The development of digital replica of the organisation to make accurate predictions about demand and determine how best to respond
  2. Demand and capacity planning/management and smart scheduling: Developing real-time insights about issues like resource constraints, bed availability and discharge planning
  3. Patient insights and patient flow: Optimising the patient’s experience through the hospital by enabling better decision making and improving information flow across the integrated care organisation to reduce delays in their journey