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Women & children's / Innovation

Alder Hey and three other trust teams join elite ‘digital exemplars’ group

By Andrew Sansom 10 Apr 2017 0

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has been selected to join a group of hospital trusts that have been selected to drive new ways of using digital technology in the health service.

The trust – the only specialist children’s NHS trust to be chosen – joins the original 12 acute trusts selected last September to be ‘Global Digital Exemplars’, along with three other providers: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust with Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust; and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

These ‘digital exemplars’ were selected from the most digitally advanced hospitals in the NHS and will lead the way in delivering radical improvements in the care of patients.

Alder Hey is well-accustomed to the application of the digital technology, having already implemented an electronic patient record system. In May last year, the trust announced a ground-breaking multi-year collaborative programme with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre to create the UK’s first ‘cognitive’ hospital, by harnessing IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology platform.

And, in partnership with the Alder Hey Children’s Charity, the trust is also creating a digital app platform for use on mobile devices, which aims to bring comfort, fun and distraction to young patients while providing vital information to them, their parents and carers.

Its new status will see Alder Hey receive £9.6m over the next four years to support the digitisation of 43 clinical pathways. This will enable the hospital to improve efficiency and effectiveness, enhance operational processes, improve clinical evidence of high-quality care, and strengthen staff engagement.

The funding will also accelerate and enhance the trust’s plans to deliver:

  • a fully digital and paperless medical record for every child, including test results and scans;
  • a web portal for patients and families that provides them with direct and secure access to medical information and their medical records, allowing them to make and change appointments;
  • a web portal for healthcare professionals that provides secure access to records for patients who are in the care of a number of different NHS organisations; and
  • the patient ‘app’ platform with several elements: familiarisation with the hospital environment; gaming and rewards for compliance with treatment; and distraction and entertainment.

“This award will really help us accelerate and enhance our existing plans to improve care for children and their families, not just here in Liverpool but across Cheshire and Merseyside, and the rest of the UK, and with our partners internationally,” said Louise Shepherd, chief executive of Alder Hey.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that technology is the biggest potential game-changer in healthcare at the moment. The intelligent use of digital technology, big sets of data, and personalised communication have vast potential to improve patient experience and outcomes and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that revolution.”