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Fast Follower, Whittington, sees digital advancement improving patient safety & empowering staff as it completes GDE programme

7th February 2022

The Whittington Hospital, a fast follower of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, has completed the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Fast Follower programme, with numerous benefits recorded over the past three years.

The new solutions have been adopted by every clinician in the Trust and include roll out of clinical noting, eObservations, ehandover, task management, alerting, the clinical portal and patient flow.

The CareFlow Vitals system has been deployed across all acute adult and paediatric wards, and this has boosted patient safety by allowing closer, more accurate monitoring and decision making. Whittington has also introduced Clinical Workspace and Clinical Noting hospital-wide, meaning that clinicians have everything at their fingertips, and only have to remember one set of log-in details. This has saved the trust hundreds of hours of work, and means more time can be spent with patients, rather than on admin.

A raft of other solutions have been implemented including Patient Flow, a real-time web application, which is being used to facilitate the journey from pre-admission to discharge – and eCommunication platform, CareFlow Connect, for faster, easier team communication and electronic multi-disciplinary team handovers.

The CareCentric shared care record, powered by Graphnet, has also been extended under the FF programme, to include maternity letters, and child health information from Child Health Information Services (CHIS).

Whittington Health NHS Trust CCIO, Sam Barclay, explained:

When we embarked on this journey, it was about far more than the products and solutions. We were signing up for whole system change for the better, safer care of the patients that we serve. It is clinical transformation that is digitally enabled. We’re now able to securely access and communicate patient details faster and easier, with the help of platforms like CareFlow Connect and Workspace. It has enabled us to adopt a more holistic view of the people that we’re treating, so we can provide them with the best management plan possible.

According to Sam, the involvement of the trust’s clinicians has been another positive outcome, with several taking a leadership role during the implementation phase.

One of the best things about this process has been finding our front-line digital champions. When we introduced CareFlow Vitals, we had a health care assistant (HCA) on our clinical leadership team, and the roll-out of Handover was led by a junior doctor, which was phenomenal. It has enabled us to unearth a whole network of digital leaders, who are on the ground, using the solutions and inspiring others.

The Fast Follower programme was launched at the NHS Innovation Expo in Manchester in 2017. A group of 18 English NHS acute trusts followed the first wave of 12 first wave Global Digital Exemplars announced at the same event twelve months earlier. GDEs and Fast Followers are supported by NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care funding, matched locally, and enabling GDEs to establish proven models that can be rolled out across the NHS more broadly.

The programme has worked very well for us. We have learned from Bristol, and they have learned from us. Said Sam. “We have also been approached by several others within the System C partners network that want to learn how we have implemented elements of our digital strategy, and – in turn – we have learned things from them. There has been an extraordinary amount of information and knowledge sharing. We’re looking forward to fostering those relationships as we continue to pursue digital excellence, with the aim of providing exceptional care, quality, and safety for our patients.

The Whittington Hospital is now working on the next phase of its digital strategy, with the support of the System C & Graphnet Care Alliance. This will include but is not limited to rolling out CareFlow Connect in the community, and further enriching CareCentric with documents from other systems, as well as the imminent go-live of Patient Portal. They will also be deploying the CareFlow Medicines Management closed loop module.

The Whittington Hospital is part of Whittington Health NHS Trust, an integrated care organisation that provides hospital and community care services to 500,000 people living in Islington and Haringey as well as other London boroughs including Barnet, Enfield, Camden, and Hackney.

Whittington Health is one of the first trusts to implement System C’s CareFlow EPR solution, which was officially launched this month. A number of other events and activities are in the pipelines to mark the occasion. The EPR has been developed to provide the company’s first ICS ready EPR product to trusts across the UK, with a focus on superior functionality, useability, interoperability, and customer service.

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