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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Hospital teams shortlisted for top HSJ Award

MR1341 iCAN Medical SDEC team using new technology
Clinical and digital teams from Kettering and Northampton general hospitals have been shortlisted for a national award for the way they have used technology to better support frail patients and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

The University Hospitals of Northamptonshire NHS Group (UHN) is a finalist in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards 2022 in the Digital System and Process Development Award category.

The entry we submitted was for way the digital and frailty teams at Kettering and Northampton hospitals have used new digital tools and processes to work with community partners and provide better care to frail patients, ensuring they are looked after in the most appropriate care location for their needs.

The hospital’s digital work forms part of Integrated Care Across Northamptonshire (iCAN) a major new multi-agency programme of transformation work which aims to achieve the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes for older people. 

Digital Transformation Project Manager Emily Hirst, who has been supporting the KGH hospital team in adopting the new technology and processes, said: “Prior to implementing the project, frailty assessments at our hospitals were paper-based, with no access to community or primary care digital records.

“This often resulted in unnecessary acute admission of frail patients to our hospitals due to the limited patient information available to our clinical teams. Not only did this put additional pressure on hospital beds it also meant frail patients weren’t always being cared for in the most appropriate setting for their needs. 

“We recognised there was a need for a digital solution to improve the management of frail patients across Northamptonshire by providing the appropriate clinicians with more information about the patients.

“This would help to make evidence-based decision-making faster and more appropriate for patients.”

We adopt new digital tools to help solve communication problems

In October 2021 the two hospitals began to adopt digital tools including SystmOne’s Electronic Patient Record (EPR), CareFlow Connect electronic referrals, Arden's Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) template and clinical frailty scoring (CFS).

Group Chief Digital Information Officer, Andy Callow, said: “By adopting SystmOne there is now a shared electronic health record (EHR) across the county, where healthcare professionals from both hospitals, primary care, mental health and intermediate care (ICT) can access frail patients’ health records in real-time.

“They can now share and have oversight of management plans and patient preferences to enable better and more individualised care.

“For patients it means they are being seen by the right specialists, in the right place and not being admitted to hospital unnecessarily.

“It also means they do not have to try to remember everything they have been told and don’t have to keep repeating the same information to new clinicians when they meet them for the first time, which can be very hard.”

Ways in which we have helped improve care

The introduction of new technology has helped both hospitals to provide better and more joined-up care with our community partners.

Examples of this include:

  • Pharmacists being able to share information and communicate across organisational boundaries when carrying out medication reviews for patients – this enables them to prescribe appropriate medications
  • A new Clinical Frailty Scoring system which means there is now an accepted and consistent way of measuring frailty for all clinicians which helps identify patients most at risk and most in need of support
  • Enabling team members to co-ordinate care and help them to be supported in the community rather than being admitted to hospital – where it is known they can become less active, more frail and more dependent
  • Patients’ needs and preferences are better recorded and understood by the different health professionals supporting them through the shared EHR
  • Staff get more satisfaction from the care they deliver as they are better informed and empowered to make decisions. Digital methods also save a lot of time and reduce the risk of loss of paper records.

Emily said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award as it is a recognition of all the amazing work our digital and frailty teams have put into making sure the adoption of these digital adoptions a success.

“Through the awards we can generate interest and share this work with other Trusts and healthcare organisations as an exemplar for partnership working and supporting integrated care systems.”

The HSJ Patient Safety Awards are a prestigious annual event, to be held on September 15th in Manchester this year, which attract hundreds of entries from across the NHS to complete in 24 award categories.

More information on the HSJ Awards is available here:

The picture shows Staff from KGH’s Frailty Same Day Emergency Care unit inside A&E who are using the new technology.

The team brings together physio and occupational therapists, pharmacists, frailty specialist nurses, and emergency care doctors. It also has links with the community intermediate care team and is overseen by a consultant geriatrician.

Pictured L-R: Trainee Nursing Associate, Abbie Reynolds, Advanced Specialist Occupational Therapist, Leanne Holland, Associate Specialist, Dr Raman Malhotra, Frailty Nurse Speclialist, Sheralyn Booker, and Advanced Specialist Physiotherapist, Vikas Patel.

Posted on Wednesday 24th August 2022
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