Interview, Video

Video: Royal Papworth shares health tech learnings from a hospital move

Andrew Raynes, Director of Digital and Chief Information Officer at Royal Papworth Hospital recently joined us for a HTN Now webcast to talk about his team’s approach to planning a large scale hospital move, from a tech perspective.

The relocation to a new building took place from the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge to a newly built hospital on the site of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Andrew began the presentation by outlying the key technology that would be a part of the new site. “We’ve got full-fibre throughout the hospital, we felt it was important to have RFID (radio-frequency identification) to track and save time around the hospital, rather than spend hours looking for things. We’ve got patient entertainment, and we’ve got some of the wonderful 8K LED screens in most of our MDT rooms,” he said.

Andrew also explained the capabilities of the new hospital: “The hospital was a £200m build, with six operating theatres, 310 single room beds – all with en-suite [facilities].”

The vision for the new building, he added, was to totally transform the current hospital setting and create a “digital village” and “turn the old way of healthcare on its head.”

Andrew explained that empowering patients was a key pillar in designing the new hospital. He said: “The hospital is equipped with self-service, we have a patient portal, we have patients online…we can enable them to visualise the process of moving around the hospital. Then there are the kiosks for outpatients, and things like text alerting and ensuring that we have helpful reminders of patients, so we maximise the opportunity in the timescales of our staff.”

Efficacy for patients and staff was a priority in the planning process, as Andrew says: “We felt it was really important that staff and patients can access a number of services which enable them to understand how quickly they get through the hospital, where things are, using technology such as track and trace to ensure we cannot lose sight of high value equipment.”

Cumbersome processes like ward auditing were cut down by using technology introduced in the new plans, Andrew added: “We can now do a ward audit in less than 20 or 30 seconds, which used to take half a day.”

Moving onto the engagement process, which involved consulting with staff, Andrew outlined his team’s plans: “We decided it would be helpful to set up what we call ‘model hospitals’ on the old hospital site. Essentially, what we tried to do is, we had a transformation zone over at Papworth and Everard. We tried to emulate what the environment was going to be in three separate environments – the home, the office and the clinical, so that staff could, ahead of the move, start to get a feel, and see what the equipment was going to look like.”

Andrew had weekly meetings with staff and, at the end of the meeting, would highlight the new designs and equipment to help staff understand and see what the new hospital was going to look like physically.

In terms of what went well throughout the process, Andrew said: “We had a really good approach to communication, we adopted the approach of having weekly briefings which focused on our move and literally engaged all the top leaders in our organisation. For those who couldn’t make it, we’d get them to join by video conferencing, so we could get that message out.”

The move from the old building was a significant one and would see a large upgrade in terms of facilities. Andrew explained: “There were a lot of challenges. It was old, there are buildings which were almost less than habitable to be honest, we were getting to the point where there was a real desire and we can see this new building and the opportunity that presented.”

Andrew also spoke of the barriers his team faced when implementing their designs: “In hindsight, there are always things you look back [at] and think ‘it could’ve been different’, ‘we could’ve done this’. We came into the Wayleave process which was around the landlord ownership of the premises and what the laws are [for] applying broadband and getting cabling into the building. If you haven’t been through that process, that is something that can take time. Virgin did [it] for us in the end and managed to get us hooked-up in a very short space of time.”

After taking on a large project, Andrew also discussed the importance of trialling innovations: “Something of this size, it’s important to test, to walk the floor, to take up your post in the new environment and really feel it and get your load balancing capacity right.”

Andrew closed his presentation with remarks on the final takeaways and what to keep in mind. “It’s also about recognising the areas for improvement,” he said, “I think none of us are too arrogant to accept that we have to have some humility, and think that what we do now is to really optimise that possible environment and make sure we go from strength to strength as part of a continual improvement cycle.”

View the full session via the video below: