Northern Care Alliance and Hitachi to deliver Digital Control Centre

The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group and Hitachi Consulting have announced a partnership to deliver a Digital Control Centre.

Known as the Digital Control Centre, the 10-year project will be deployed across Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, part of the Northern Care Alliance, with an aim to revolutionise the organisation utilising advanced analytics and the Internet of Things.

The project will introduce patient insights and flow management tools to provide staff in the emergency village with near real time information relating to attendance and admission history, key clinical indicators from patient history, admission risk and standard patient scores that can be used to assign them to the correct care pathways. Demand management tools will improve real-time decision making; for example, by showing where bed capacity is and providing semi-automatic bed planning.

The Digital Control Centre will deliver capabilities across three core areas:

1. Operational Intelligence, Strategic Planning and Simulation: the development of digital replica of the organisation to make accurate predictions about demand and determine how best to respond.

2. Demand & Capacity Planning / Management and Smart Scheduling: developing real-time insights about issues like resource constraints, bed availability and discharge planning.

3. Patient Insights and Patient Flow: optimising the patient’s experience through the hospital by enabling better decision making and improving information flow across the integrated care organisation to reduce delays in their journey.

The trust said “the benefits will be significant, with the experience becoming more personal and timelier. Staff satisfaction will markedly increase as their daily frustrations with a lack of information, chasing data and filling forms will be minimised by automated processes and visualisation of information in a manner that suits them and at a time when they need it. This will enable staff to optimise the use of beds, operating theatres and equipment.”

Raj Jain, Chief Executive of the Northern Care Alliance, said “The change will impact on staff right across the organisation. Supporting staff to determine and deliver these improvements is what is key. The technology is the innovation that enables staff to transform, but it is the staff that will deliver the benefits. Committed and consistent clinical and managerial leadership is key. In Salford we are able to build on the existing outstanding leadership (CQC Well Led assessment) to make the best out of 21st century technology.”

“We always strive to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time and this venture will absolutely allow us to do this. For staff, I am sure it can feel like a daily fire-fighting exercise to ensure our patients are admitted appropriately, that they get to see the right healthcare professionals, have the treatment they need and then are discharged appropriately. We believe this programme will revolutionise the system, enhancing the care and experience we offer to our patients.”

“Our approach is always to ensure our clinicians are crucial to the design and creation of programmes of work and this programme is absolutely no different. I’ve worked side by side with clinicians as this piece of work has developed and will continue to do so as we implement this across Salford Royal and, in time, more widely across the Northern Care Alliance to benefit an even wider population of patients.”

Paul Watson, Healthcare, Vice President EMEA at Hitachi Consulting, said “The Control Centre shows just how much power there is when you leverage digital tools to transform hospital operations. Working with the fantastic team at the Northern Care Alliance we will unlock more resources, enable faster access to actionable information, improve ways of working for staff and improve access to care, meaning local people will ultimately benefit from faster, more targeted care.”