Huddersfield University is offering student nurses and allied healthcare professionals placements in two local hospitals where they can find out more about the digital technologies being used.

The scheme is designed to expose applicants to the technologies that are already in use at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, with the aim of creating the digitally-savvy clinicians of the future.

Bethen Hebberd, senior lecturer and head of practice-based learning (AHPs and Midwifery), Huddersfield University, said: “The innovative, interdisciplinary digital skills placement is a fantastic example of future-focused practice education.

“It will allow our students to gain insight into how data is used to inform service delivery and how it’s aiding a variety of aspects of modern healthcare practice.

“The placement is designed to make the students more confident in exploring the advances in digital healthcare, which should aid in creating the healthcare professionals that are required in the future.”

Digital health solutions to improve patient care and safety are already well embedded within Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s hospitals. Last February it deployed Healthcare Gateway’s Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) with the aim of giving healthcare staff in the region access to a wider view of patient data.

The first placements will start this month, with students working with critical outreach and respiratory teams, the speech and language therapy team and district nurses. The students will be introduced to virtual consultations for patients being treated at home. This will give them the opportunity to work with real-time data documentation and see how it can benefit multi-disciplinary team scenarios.

As well as being exposed to technological innovations, the students will also be introduced to the role of Chief Nurse Information Officer and given presentations on how data is being used to improve and shape services for the future.

The scheme came about following a collaboration between Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and The Health Informatics Service (THIS).

Rob Birkett, the trust’s chief digital and information officer, said: “It is a great example of both collaboration with one of our partners and the further alignment of digital with the day-to-day provision of compassionate care here at CHFT; as well as preparing our clinicians of the future for a local career in a modern health and social care system.”

Plans are already being made to extend the breadth and depth, by extending the length of placement from the current five days, and by opening the scheme to more clinical disciplines. Student midwives and physiotherapists are set to be the first to benefit from the expansion.