Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) has been named as one of only seven hospitals within the country to be accepted into the ‘Digital Aspirant Plus’ programme as the organisation looks to revolutionise the way it records and stores information, ultimately for the benefit of patient care and treatment.
The Digital Aspirant Plus (DA+) programme has been developed by NHSX and aims to stimulate innovation in Electronic Patient Record (EPR) systems across the acute, mental health and community sectors.
Electronic records within health settings are safer and more secure than paper records, which are still within wide use at DBTH, and lead to greater efficiencies for clinicians as less time is spent physically moving notes around hospital sites as they are required. It means that health professionals are able to safely access the information they need, when and where they need it, ultimately improving the care and experience of patients.
In simple terms, it means that a doctor, nurse or any other clinician from the Trust will be able to access a patient’s health record using a secure computer, recording diagnosis, recommended treatments or any changes to their condition, at the stroke of a key. This record can then be called up if the patient is transferred to a ward or service, or if they are discharged home and have any follow-up care. Trusts which use EPR systems often report that it aids in better clinical decision making, a reduction in recording errors and better use of administrative time and, most importantly, improved levels of care for individuals.
As part of the programme, and the specific scheme - ‘EPR Accelerator Project’ - that DBTH will benefit from, the Trust will receive support from NHSX in the implementation of this new digital system, and will also be able to access seed funding of up to £250,000 to help with planning and readying the organisation for the change.
Ken Anderson, Chief Information Officer at DBTH, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have been accepted into this programme which completely fits within our Digital Transformation aspirations at the Trust. By implementing an Electronic Patient Record, it will allow us to fast track the admin processes involved within a number of our services into the 21st century, making the very best use of technology for the benefit of our patients.
“Colleagues have worked incredibly hard to develop our submission in order to be accepted into NHSX’s scheme, and I want to share my thanks with them all. It is my firm belief that it is the job of our Digital Transformation team to make any digital systems and innovations as accessible and easy-to-use as possible – making their introduction seamless. It is our goal to make our colleagues’ working life better, and in the process enhance the way we deliver services for our patients. I believe that the introduction of an EPR will be an important step within this ambition, and I can’t wait to get started.”
NHSX is responsible for setting national policy and developing best practice for the Health Service in areas of technology, digital and data, including data sharing and transparency. It was established in early 2019 by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to bring together information technology teams from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and NHS Improvement.
Sonia Patel, Chief Information Officer at NHSX, said: “Electronic patient record systems are the building blocks of good digital healthcare but they are also complex and expensive to procure. At NHSX we want to positively shape the EPR market in England and help local NHS organisations procure new, modern solutions and drive wider innovation in the market.
“These exciting projects will not just help the seven selected trusts deliver better care for their patients and a better experience for their staff, but it will also help those other NHS organisations looking at EPR procurement.”
IT and health professionals at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals will now begin the preliminary work to lay the foundations for the introduction of an Electronic Patient Record at the Trust, working closely with colleagues at NHSX as the process gets underway.