Sunderland Royal Hospital announces GDE achievement

Sunderland Royal Hospital, part of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust (STSFT), has announced it has met all the requirements of the national Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme.

Andy Hart, Director of Information Management and Technology at the trust, will receive the official GDE accreditation, a ‘hallmark of excellence’ for NHS organisations utilising the latest technologies to improve and enhance patient care – from NHSX, in a virtual ceremony.

Sunderland Royal Hospital’s ‘paper-free at the point of care’ journey, began five years ago, with the hospital setting the ambition to meet this aim by 2021, after it became one of only 16 places across the country to be recognised as a GDE site.

Since 2016, STSFT has invested over £25 million in the advancement of its digital systems, which means that, at the Sunderland Royal Hospital specifically, all clinical teams from all departments now have access to live, up-to-date patient information through the Meditech Electronic Patient Record (EPR).

According to the trust, South Tyneside District Hospital has also rolled out the EPR, by using Sunderland Royal Hospital’s ‘GDE blueprint’. Wherever a patient is in a hospital, the electronic record quickly provides real-time data without the need for paper. Staff can update records electronically, prescribe medication and record vital signs from the bedside by using scanning technology and digital patient wristbands.

Sunderland Royal Hospital also recently became the first trust in the North East – and the second across the whole of England – to be awarded the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) EMRAM Level 7 status, which is an international standard for digital adoption in hospitals. The hospital announced this in December 2020, following a two-day virtual assessment.

Ahead of receiving the GDE accreditation, Andy Hart said: “Achieving our paper-free ambitions through the GDE programme has only been possible thanks to support from NHSX and NHS Digital, our partner MEDITECH, and a long-standing commitment from the whole organisation, right from the board to all clinical colleagues on the shop floor. I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved.

“Having joined up and highly effective IT systems in the NHS is by no means an easy feat but it is a fundamental enabler to delivering excellent patient care.  We will now continue to build on our GDE success to keep pushing the boundaries of innovation even further.  We look forward to sharing our learning with other NHS organisations who need support in rolling out digital solutions.”

Dr Kevin Joisce, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Chief Clinical Information Officer at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, also commented: “For many years, our board has championed the pivotal role of technology in the safe and effective delivery of modern day NHS care.

“Technology is embedded in everything we do, in all of our clinical processes and all of our nursing workflows – it is a fundamental part of how we deliver patient care. Our GDE programme has been pivotal in helping us realise our paper-free ambitions to an extent where we have successfully eliminated our reliance on paper-based systems, with significant benefits to patient care across all trust facilities.

Dermot Ryan, NHSX Director of Frontline Digitisation, added: “South Tyneside and Sunderland is an excellent example of the difference the use of digital technologies can make to patients and staff. I’m delighted to be able to present their accreditation today.

“At NHSX we want to support all parts of the NHS to digitally transform and our new Digital Aspirant programme is focusing on those organisations who need extra help, with over 60 local bodies benefitting so far.”