Forward Healthcare Awards 2021 finalists: five outstanding projects that support healthcare teams through technology

The Forward Healthcare Awards 2021, in partnership with CCube Solutions, give the team here at Leading Healthcare – and our panel of expert judges – the chance to acknowledge all of the brilliant work taking place in the world of health and care.

The awards week will begin on 6 September 2021, when will see five days spent showcasing innovations, ideas, partnerships, pilots and more.

We’ll announce the finalists and the winners and celebrate those that took part through a series of features, videos, and digital content.

We start our awards season by taking a closer look at our ‘featured finalists’, and on this occasion, we focus on the category of ‘supporting healthcare teams through technology’.

Quality Trusted Solutions (QTS) – Automating the Estates Returns Information Collection (ERIC) Process

Our first entry into supporting healthcare teams through technology is from Quality Trusted Solutions, and their efforts to automate the Estates Returns Information Collection process.

QTS has partnered with EventMAP to produce the tool, following an 18-month development process, which was successfully piloted in July 2019.

The platform has a direct interface with NHS Digital’s Estates Facilities Management system and eradicates the need to enter data twice.

The partnership between QTS and EventMAP, the ERIC Automated Solution is available to be licensed by all NHS trusts and accommodates all types of services and buildings.

Irene Paik-Semenov, Head of Asset Management at QTS, said: “The ERIC Automation Solution, created with the help of EventMAP, has significantly reduced the time we spent creating our ERIC return. The administrative burden of collating all of the data has also become so much simpler. This solution is exactly what we need and what I’ve been waiting for.”

Spirit Digital – (part of the Spirit Health Group)

Our next entry into the supporting healthcare teams through the technology category is from Spirit Digital and their solution that facilitates continuity of care.

CliniTouch Vie lets clinicians remotely monitor symptomatic patients’ progress post-discharge, allowing patients to recover in their own home. A unique set of algorithms signal if there are any signs of potential deterioration, allowing for healthcare teams to step in if necessary.

After being deployed at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, face-to-face home visits dropped by 35.1%, per patient.

The CliniTouch Vie is accessible via a computer, tablet or smartphone, and is used to record vital signs readings such as oxygen saturation levels. The platform uses a traffic light system (red, amber, green) that is presented in real-time to a clinician, if the algorithm produces a red rating, clinicians can intervene immediately.

Sudip Ghosh, Associate Medical Director for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “The pandemic has highlighted the greatest need for us to work with our patients in novel and innovative ways. This virtual COVID ward is an extension of our current urgent respiratory services to help build capacity and flow through our system. LPT is proud to play its part in emerging solutions for our health economy.”

Intouch with Health

Our third entry into the supporting healthcare teams through the technology category is from Intouch with Health, and their work to address the outpatient backlog.

Their first solution is a mobile appointment manager, where patients check-in using an app when they are near the hospital building, to help avoid busy waiting rooms, and are then notified when it is time for their appointment.

Michele Roberts, Outpatients Department General Manager at Poole Hospital, said: “Mobile check-in helps us safely manage the flow of patients in the department at any one time, for example by giving them the ability to check-in in on arrival in the hospital vicinity, and then wait there comfortably and safely before being notified via the app when it is time to move to their clinic area for their scheduled appointment.

“Not only does this give patients much greater convenience and flexibility to avoid busy waiting areas and choose where and how they wait for their appointment, but it also supports our infection prevention measures by, for example, reducing the number of patients inside the hospital and minimising the requirement for interaction with patients and reception staff. Patients can safely self-distance in outside waiting areas / their cars etc. until they are called for their appointment through the app.”

Their second solution is an activity manager which lets staff plan, monitor and manage any tests or activities required during an appointment, and uses a central digital dashboard that is accessible across the hospital network.

Suzanne Rodgers, Programme Manager, ABMU (Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University) Health Board, said: “As a result (of using Activity Manager), we are able to gain a detailed understanding of the whole patient journey from a multidisciplinary perspective. Since going live, we have received positive feedback from our clinical, administrative and senior management teams. Our patient surveys have also collated fantastic feedback across the board.”

Their third solution is a room and resource manager which makes it easier for clinicians to find resources and underused rooms that may have been booked beforehand but not actually used.

Issie Macniven, Matron for Outpatients at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said “We chose Room and Resource Manager as it provides the Trust with all the functionality that we need.

“We are really looking forward to managing our clinic and meeting rooms from one central point, having access to instant and real-time availability and capacity to maximise the use of our resources. We will also be able to forward plan and book ad-hoc clinics with the reassurance that the information is correct, with excellent communication lines between all parties involved.”

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Eyecare without boundaries: A true shared care vision for patient benefit in Wales

Our final entry into the supporting healthcare teams through technology category is from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and their work to produce a shared care vision for Wales.

Their vision resulted in a new five-year training and development plan, that commenced in 2018/19 to enable Optometrists to undertake higher-level training in Glaucoma, Medical Retina and Independent Prescribing.

The entry stated: “More demand is now placed upon eye services, with rising obesity levels, resulting in more diabetic retinopathy, and an ageing consultant workforce, the need for a digital solution and strategy is critical.”

In March 2020, five ophthalmic and Diagnostic Treatment Centres were set up and supported by qualified Optometrists, which oversaw 1,500 appointments by consultant virtual clinics.

Following this success, the Health Board brought forward their 2022/23 strategic training and development plan, and as a part of the process, they partnered with the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences Cardiff University, and Health Education Improvement Wales (HEIW) to hold a meeting to present their new vision.