Chris Dunne, Head of Regional Public Sector Technology
Central to realizing this evolution are the pioneers. The digitally fluent NHS Trusts, hospitals and clinicians that are prepared to challenge the status quo and take bold steps to doing things differently. We look at two examples in this blog of UK organizations that are doing just that. Improving patient care by providing the systems to help clinicians today, while creating a platform to build a better future, these best-in-class cases are proving technology and healthcare is truly better together.
The real driving force of change
From AI-assisted surgery to genome sequencing for tailored treatment plans, medical scenarios once depicted as the future have already arrived. But it’s easy to be sucked in by sensationalist headlines around extreme examples of machines in a hospital setting. The truth of the matter is that the majority of developments, the real driving force of change, is far less sexy but no less important. And that is an adequately equipped technology environment.
Without a robust platform none of the developments you read or hear about are possible. Even worse, new developments could be prevented or delivered substandard and create more problems than solutions. An effective technology platform means clinicians can spend the maximum amount of time with patients, and not worry about slow system times or long waits to gain access to the services that they need to perform their jobs.
That’s why it’s surprising that many healthcare providers have been slow to adopt workhorse technologies like the public cloud. Their reluctance often stems from perceptions that cloud solutions aren’t secure enough for medical data, or that adopting new systems is too complex, both putting patient care at risk. According to Accenture, security (76%) and perceived complexity (59%) are cited as top reasons for the slow growth. But one organization bucking the trend is the Royal Orthopedic Hospital.
Journey to the cloud
An important unit of the NHS, the Royal Orthopedic Hospital leads on nationwide initiatives on sustainability and digitalization—such as those outlined in the NHS Architecture Principles, a comprehensive protocol for designing digital systems and services for the NHS. These principles are designed to reduce operating costs, minimize the healthcare system’s carbon footprint, and give clinicians better access to the high-performing IT systems they need to provide quality healthcare. As part of this protocol, The Royal Orthopedic Hospital has been especially proactive in fulfilling the NHS public cloud first imperative.
Liam Maiden, IT Program Manager, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital said, “Our ultimate goal is to give patients more time with their doctor. Clinicians should have everything they need at their fingertips to have informed, meaningful interactions with patients and to reassure them that they’re in good hands”.
In an environment awash in sensitive personal information, information technology must be secure and reliable. Clinicians access and transmit vast volumes of data in daily operations and use resource-intensive applications such as radiological and other image processing systems. When high-performance systems and data are unavailable, staff productivity plummets, reducing the number of patients the hospital can treat. A crucial consequence of these issues is a diminishment in care quality. By moving to the cloud, The Royal Orthopedic Hospital has embraced a new era of efficiency and scalability, giving clinicians reliable access to tools that help them deliver outstanding patient care. And administrative staff can also work more efficiently from anywhere, promoting greater employee wellbeing.
Securing data has become even more critical in a time when cybersecurity breaches hit an all-time high, impacting 45 million people in 2021.
Maiden concluded, “Modernizing our on-site data centers frees my team up to focus on improving the user experience, aligns with our carbon reduction initiative, and reduces infrastructure, capital, and operational costs. In short, everybody wins by moving to the cloud.”
Digital solutions, anywhere and anytime
Another excellent example of technology in healthcare is the East London Foundation Trust, which offers non-acute services to about 1.8 million people across Bedfordshire and London. It is providing digital solutions that enable people to access systems where they need to and when they need to, which includes anyone from administration staff to clinical staff - even patients themselves.
Like many recent innovations, the pandemic proved that necessity is the mother of invention. The Trust had to ensure patients saw clinicians but without that face-to-face contact they're traditionally used to. So, it created digital pods to ensure that the patients who didn't have access to technology were able to come to a site and have a clinical session with a consultant who could be based anywhere using platforms such as Webex and Zoom. The ambition of the Trust is to deliver innovative solutions that can improve not only the users' experience of the systems, but also the delivery of patient and service-user care.
James Slaven, Chief Technical Officer, said “In the last year or so, we've focused on getting new platforms and infrastructure in place. That has really opened the door for us to adopt some incredible innovations around; how patient information is accessed, where from, how it is delivered and ensuring the correct and most up to date information is available at the point at which it is needed instantly”.
Innovations making a real difference
There are so many more examples of exciting innovations happening on the hospital floor that are making a real difference - not just to ways of working, but to people’s lives - both clinician and patient. For more information or examples on how we are working with our partners in healthcare, check out our recent case studies or get in touch with our team to find out more at firstname.lastname@example.org