The National Health Service faces the severe counter forces of a quickly growing and ageing population, and tightly restricted funds for treatment. Trusts across the country are subsequently going through extensive change to meet efficiency targets and evolve the NHS into an organisation that prevents ill-health rather than reactively treats diseases.
During this time, there is a strong push to improve care from GP surgeries to hospitals and community facilities. “A key element of health organisations’ success is supplying clinical and administrative staff with the right information at the right time, enabled by technology,” explains Shane Tickell, chief executive at technology firm IMS MAXIMS.
By making patient records available digitally, in a cohesive manner, clinicians can avoid the risks associated with having to search around for paper or trying to link together disconnected pieces of information. The entire patient journey from triage to treatment, discharge and follow-up can be safely and consistently managed.
Some 180 healthcare organisations are among those tackling the problem, using an electronic patient records (EPR) and administration system supplied by IMS MAXIMS. A number of these providers are also intending to pilot the company’s mobile solutions, so doctors and nurses can treat patients from anywhere in a hospital by having all the information they need on a tablet or phone.
Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is one of the more advanced in these areas, having deployed the IMS MAXIMS EPR in accident and emergency, operating theatres, wards and outpatient clinics. It is on track to be a light user of paper next year, with an integrated digital set-up, geared around open standards, data-sharing and analytics.
Over a ten-year period, the trust expects the systems to play an essential part in helping it achieve a projected £92-million saving through better efficiency, improved care, tighter shift management and handovers, and reduction in readmissions. It has subsequently been named by the government as a digital exemplar to other organisations.
During implementation, we can ensure trusts only pay for our systems as savings are realised
Around the country other health bodies are also taking action, including Wye Valley NHS Trust, which has used the IMS MAXIMS EPR to provide a single, shared patient record view across four hospitals and community facilities. Meanwhile, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will deploy the system this year to help improve care for a population of 1.6 million.
All these organisations have won government funding because of their digital advances. “There is a huge opportunity for NHS trusts to create a really safe, efficient, digitally enabled way of working,” says Mr Tickell. “By laying this groundwork, we can also unlock other important service transformations, including the use of data analysis and artificial intelligence to help support safer, faster clinical decisions.”
When trusts use technology to transform services, they face some common challenges. “The cultural shift can be particularly tricky,” he notes. “Many of the staff have not experienced such a digital change before and success happens when everyone, from the board to the ward, is engaged.”
IMS MAXIMS guides trusts through this process using methodology developed over 30 years, in partnership with organisations such as Taunton and Somerset. Regularly demonstrating care improvements during the implementation process is proven to inspire change. Trusts can also pay as projects proceed, he explains, adding: “Around 75 per cent of trusts will struggle to meet their budgets this year. During implementation, we can ensure they only pay for our systems as savings are realised.”
Mr Tickell says this unique approach is critical to motivating and sustaining the transformative change needed in the health service. “We want to future-proof the NHS and we believe digital technology is already helping, but has the potential to do much more.”
To find out how to improve efficiency and clinical care by transforming digitally please visit www.imsmaxims.com