Can digital technology really improve patient care and experience?
Can digital technology really improve patient care and experience?

In September, NHS England announced the 12 selected NHS Trusts that will be “Digital Exemplar Trusts” to have access to £100 million funding to invest in digital infrastructure and specialist training, with the ultimate aim of becoming world leaders in health informatics.

A portion of the funding is expected to be invested into technology responsible for improving patient safety and experience - thus creating digital excellence at Trust level followed by the creation of local networks to bring all Trusts up to the same standard.

Badenoch & Clark is at the “coalface” talking to these Digital Exemplar Trusts daily and has gained an extensive insight into where exactly the funding will find itself.

Projects will include:

  • - Real time video links between ambulances and emergency departments to support better care during journeys to hospital.

  • - Electronic detection and alerting of patient deteriorations (sepsis, for example) thus reducing the number of patients in whom this is missed which will improve outcomes, reduce mortality and shorten lengths of stay

  • - Implementation of online systems which will assist in the reduction of medication errors (which could be as high as 50%!) by managing the monitoring of patients more effectively and alerting clinicians.

However, there have been comments/reviews/inquisitive questions regarding this incentivised strategy, some of which are cited below:

  • - This is undoubtedly a ‘pulse-raising’ time for the proposed DET’s (and yes, the pun was intended), who have worked so hard to get here in the first place – to have this status and be part of such digital excellence is an achievement in itself.

  • - Delivering and measuring the benefits – will there be a substantial return on the investment?

  • - Not creating too big of a divide between the DET’s and the other Trusts – will certain trust’s get left behind and risk becoming outdated?

  • - The DET’s having the resource / funding to “trickle down” their technology / knowledge within the local network – can sharing the results between communities be managed?

  • In a time of such digital change, it will be really interesting to see how DET pans out against the likes of NPfIT, paperless by 2020, and other initiatives.

    By Pratima Patel, Consultant



NHS , Public Sector
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