University Hospital Southampton shares digital innovations

Clinicians and IT experts at Southampton’s teaching hospitals have shared some of their pioneering digital initiatives with NHS leaders.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is one of 16 centres of excellence – known as global digital exemplars – selected by the Department of Health to develop and share innovations.

The four-year programme, which was launched in 2016, will see the trust receive a total of £10 million to lead technology projects to improve safety, quality and efficiency that could go on to be rolled out nationwide.

Rafael Sorribas, clinical lead for NHS Digital, the national provider of information, data and IT systems across the health service, met with staff at the trust to discuss progress in a range of areas. These included a pilot of an app in critical care – digiRounds – which allows mobile device users to access key clinical information including observations, drug charts, laboratory results and handover notes on smartphones and tablets.

In addition, clinicians have been trialling the use of Medxnote, a WhatsApp-style messaging app which enables staff to exchange confidential patient information and photographs quickly but securely and is designed to replace pagers.

The day also shared MetaVision SafeTrack, an electronic observation system which sees staff input information on patients via mobile devices to calculate an early warning score to highlight changes which require escalation.

Among other developments discussed was the trusts new interactive whiteboards which display information taken directly from a patient’s electronic record, including clinical alerts such as existing medical conditions, length of admission and predicted discharge date.

Staff also highlighted the success of My medical record, a personal online health record which allows patients to access their health record from home and Sample 360, an electronic blood tracking system which involves scanning patients’ barcoded wristbands and labelling samples on the spot to prevent errors.

“We are really pleased to have the opportunity to share some of our recent developments with NHS Digital and demonstrate the impact this investment is having in IT across the trust,” said Jo Watts, global digital exemplar programme manager at UHS.

“It is also a chance for some of these initiatives to be explored by other organisations, potentially helping to benefit patients and staff on a much wider level.”

Adrian Byrne, director of informatics at UHS, added: “The digital innovations we are introducing across the trust are revolutionising the way we run our hospitals, deliver services for patients and support our staff.

“Our current projects cover everything from identifying deteriorating patients earlier and providing online access to health records, to making notes, observations and tests results available to clinicians on smartphones and tablets and undertaking digital ward rounds.”