Secondary Care

Birmingham and Solihull awarded £5m to develop digital technology in mental health care

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has recently been  awarded £5m funding to spearhead the development of digital technology to improve mental health care.

The Trust was named as a ‘Global Digital Exemplar’ in a recent announcement in recognition of its status as one of the most advanced IT organisations in the NHS for the innovative use of technology to care for people who use mental health services.

For people who use mental health services, this will mean taking ownership of their health and care information, updating directly into their care record and being able to interact with clinicians at the Trust using the latest digital technology, including smartphone apps and a secure online patient portal.  Providing online information, learning and communities will also give service users the knowledge to manage their own health and wellness and adopt healthy behaviours.  It will also enable their carers and families to provide the best possible support.

For clinical staff, it will mean being able to use remote, mobile and assistive technologies to help provide high quality care, for example offering remote consultations via Skype-like services and using predictive analytics to forecast changes in service users’ needs to reduce the likelihood of a mental health crisis.  The Trust will also be more efficient through introducing digital technology across wards to streamline processes and become a paper free organisation.

The aim is not only to develop innovative technologies in Birmingham and Solihull, but to share these with other mental health trusts, reducing the time and cost to spread the use of technology for the benefit of services users across the whole NHS.

John Short, Chief Executive at the Trust, said “As a Global Digital Exemplar, the Trust will build on its strong existing IT capability and expertise. This has seen the introduction of electronic patient records since 2011 and, more recently, the implementation of an electronic system for prescribing and administering medication and launch of a mental health mobile app, ‘Silver Linings’, to help young people who have experienced an episode of psychosis to manage their mental health and access support.  We are delighted to have been recognised as an NHS leader in IT and excited about further developing our digital technologies to enable the best possible care to service users, both locally and nationally.”