News, News in Brief

News in Brief: Hampshire Hospitals maternity service goes digital, Dartford adopts VR

As the end of the week approaches, we round-up any news stories that we may have missed. The past seven days have included reports of a new Google AI tool, eConsult Health’s acquisition of Q doctor, Sussex Partnership NHS FT’s five-year deal with Civica, and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s new ‘way-finder’ app for patients.

As if that wasn’t enough news for you, here at HTN we released the video of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s webinar on electronic prescribing and also announced our sessions for HTN Now June 2021 – with 2,000 free tickets made available for NHS professionals. Phew.

But there’s still more to explore, so catch up with our latest news in brief…

Hampshire Hospitals launches new digital maternity service

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has announced a new digital maternity service, which will allow pregnant women to access personalised care plans online and via an app.

The latest launch is part of the trust’s focus on digitalising services to improve patient care; the new service removes the need for newly pregnant women to go through their GP, enabling them to self-refer online, and it also allows them to access care plans, information leaflets, and to be able to set up appointment reminders and send questions to their midwife for non-urgent support. 

Fay Corder, Associate Director of Midwifery at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re really excited about what a difference this will make to the experience women in our care will have throughout their pregnancy journey and beyond. 

“Traditionally, pregnant women were provided with handheld pregnancy notes and a folder which they took to each appointment and handed back at the end of the pregnancy, but they will now use the Badger Notes maternity app which allows women to keep their notes and also add photos throughout their pregnancy and their child’s early years to their records.”

The ongoing project with local maternity services spans Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and it is intended to be implemented across all local sites, enabling maternity teams to transfer care between sites where necessary. This could include an emergency or elective transfer, or for women receiving care across two trusts. 

Pregnant women wishing to use the service can download the Badger Notes app from their App Store to get started.  

Darent Valley Hospital adopts VR for safeguarding training  

Darent Valley Hospital, part of the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, is pioneering the use of virtual reality (VR) for safeguarding training.

Overseen by the Safeguarding Children’s Team, Antser VR is being used as a training and development resource for the hospital workforce.

Sonya Stocker, Senior Sister for Safeguarding, came across the technology at an NSPCC conference and saw the potential of how the immersive programme could be utilised within the hospital’s safeguarding training programme.

Antser VR offers accelerated learning and understanding of the experiences of children in abusive homes and the needs of those children in or from the care system, placing a VR user into ‘real’ scenarios.

Sonya commented: “I could quickly see how powerful the VR was and how the immersive experience would help staff understand and recognise certain situations with more empathy.”

The safeguarding team is responsible for the training and development of over 3,000 staff. The team has also recently developed the ‘Think Family’ training approach, which recognises how mental health issues can affect family life and have an adverse effect on children and young people. The VR training programme is now used at the beginning of this training.

It’s hoped that the training and VR tool will give the workforce the necessary knowledge and experience to recognise these situations, so that the right referrals to social care can be made, at the right time.

To measure the success of the VR programme the Safeguarding Team will be looking at the level of referrals over the next few months and staff evaluations of the sessions. Other potential opportunities for the VR tool could include a stop smoking initiative.

Alison Alexander, Strategic Director at Antser, said: “We’re really excited to be working with the trust and welcome its innovative approach in how to assist their workforce to learn about the impact of trauma. Since working with Sonya, other NHS trusts have asked us to utilise the VR behaviour change programme to enhance their learning and development offer with health practitioners, which is great news for the health sector.”

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals goes live with Compucare

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has gone live with Streets Heaver’s Private Patient Management Solution, Compucare.

The Surrey-based trust launched Compucare 8 across its Northey Suite; the newly implemented solution will manage their private patient activity, billing and credit control.

Welsh Government fully-funded places available on NHS Digital Health Leadership Programme

There are five spaces available on the NHS Digital Health Leadership Programme, the national learning programme for NHS candidates.

The Welsh government is funding the places, which can lead to a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Health Leadership, awarded by Imperial College London.

NHS or public sector employees currently working in health informatics or similar roles are the target audience for the programme, which is part of the NHS Digital Academy.

A year-long course, it employs a blended learning approach including online modules, live sessions, and experiential learning.

To apply for funding for the course, which starts in September 2021, submit an application before the 21 June 2021 deadline. To find out more, read the Digital Academy brochure or email for questions and support.

Meddbase announces expansion into Canada

Meddbase, a UK cloud-based EHR platform, has announced the signing of ELNA Medical’s Medicentres clinics as its first Canadian client.

This means the company has added one of the largest groups of primary and specialty care clinics in the North American nation to its healthcare portfolio. ELNA Medical currently has around 56 clinics and over 800 medical professionals. These serve roughly one million Canadians every year through their in-person and telemedicine care.

Will Temple, Managing Director of Medical Management Systems, the company behind Meddbase, is quoted as saying: “We are delighted to begin our expansion into the Canadian market by working with ELNA Medical, who share many of our own core values, and embody our vision to deliver first rate joined-up healthcare services seamlessly through technology across multiple locations.

“We welcome the opportunity to build on the Meddbase product with additional data hosting locations such as our new Quebec data hub, as well as increased international functionality such as multiple time zones and language support. We look forward to continuing the positive working relationship we have built with the team at Medicentres.”

Wayne Samuels, General Manager of ELNA Medical’s Medicentres clinics added: “Our objective as an organisation is to persist in providing convenient and quick access to high quality care to our patients and corporate clients across the health spectrum, including personalised and preventive medicine. When seeking the ideal software suite, we turned to Meddbase and have found the implementation of the system to be excellent. Their experienced team has been flexible, organised, and well-prepared and we are excited to continue the rapport we have built with Meddbase as we work on further functionality and roll-outs.”

University of Glasgow academics show how Scotland used data to combat COVID-19

Academics from the University of Glasgow have released a new report, entitled ‘Scottish Local Government during COVID-19: Data Needs, Capabilities, and Uses’, to illustrate how data sharing was critical in Scottish local government responses to the pandemic.

The research – which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and implemented in collaboration with the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government – is intended to detail Scotland’s experiences to provide ‘important lessons for future data engagement’, according to the University.

Dr Justine Gangneux, a Research Associate at the Urban Big Data Centre, University of Glasgow, said: “What is striking is just how quickly local authorities responded to the COVID-19 crisis by making use of data to inform decision-making and provide essential services to communities. So, data was central to local government’s handling of the pandemic on the ground.

“At the same time, local authorities encountered several data challenges along the way, for example how to deal with patchy data quality, and how to share data across organisations without significant prior sharing practice.

“The crisis has also had a positive effect: it turned out to be a catalyst for innovation, for example by prompting local authorities to form new partnerships and networks for data sharing in a short period of time.”

Researchers carried out in-depth analysis of ‘data engagements’ between autumn 2020 and spring 2021, surveying a total of 31 of the 32 Scottish local authorities.

Findings included: 83% of respondents said that there was an increase in internal data sharing during the pandemic; 79% indicated the use of new data sources; and 74% confirmed increased data collection.

Read the full report online.