University Hospitals Leicester (UHL) has seen a 10% fall in waiting lists overall between December 2022 and September 2023 and a 66% fall in those waiting more than a year for treatment, thanks to digitally supported elective recovery measures. 

UHL chief executive Richard Mitchell and chief information officer Andrew Carruthers told Digital Health News that the reduction in waitlists have been among the greatest in the health service.  

“Our work with Nervecentre is making sure we can give data to teams to do risk stratification of backlogs,” Carruthers said.

“Over the last 18 months, we have had the opportunity to communicate differently with patients, validating that they are still on the waiting list for the right condition.” The Trust has used a range of technologies, including simple texts through Accurx, to help improve the patient experience.

UHL is the main NHS development partner for UK electronic patient record provider (EPR) Nervecentre and is four years into a 10-year partnership with Nervecentre, through which it plans to use the company’s next-generation EPR to power its digital transformation process. 

In April, UHL deployed Nervecentre’s Order Comms module, which supports clinical workflows and processes, across its three large hospitals in one of the final phases of its progressive EPR rollout.

The trust has already integrated other Nervecentre software, including patient safety modules such as ED, ePMA and Infection Control, as well as patient flow modules. 

Earlier this month, meanwhile, the trust said it had named Dr Jeremy Tong and Hayley Grafton to the posts of chief medical information officer and chief nursing information officer respectively, as part of its efforts to further strengthen the digital leadership of its clinical agenda. 

UHL is also aiming to expand its leadership role in the East Midlands and is looking at how digital solutions can be used to integrate pathways. Mitchell – who is also chief executive of University Hospitals of Northampton NHS Group – chairs both the East Midlands Acute Providers network, encompassing eight acute trusts, and the East Midlands Cancer Alliance.  

He noted that the region’s providers share the challenge of recruiting clinicians and a range of “fragile” services, including oncology. Although he described the process as “only at the thinking stage”, he said members of the networks are trying to envision what a single oncology service across the East Midlands might look like. 

“There is a lot of talk nationally around frontline digitalisation and convergence, and we are the only acute trust in our ICS,” he said. “The opportunities for scale across the East Midlands are interesting.” 

Many of the conversations between the region’s CIOs and CCIOs are focused on how to make it easier for patients and organisations to move around, he said, adding: “Often the technology is a barrier, but we are approaching the point where the technology is an enabler rather than a barrier.”