Secondary Care

Health Tech Trends Series 2021: Central London Community Healthcare digital strategy in focus

Our Health Tech Trends Series, sponsored by InterSystems, has focused on digital strategies over the past few weeks, highlighting plans at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, North East and North Cumbria ICS, Oxford Health NHS FT, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS FT to Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS FT.

In this latest edition, we take the microscope to the recently published Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (CLCH) digital strategy 2021 – 2024.

The latest strategy replaces the trust’s Information Management and Technology Strategy of 2018 to 2023, and places the focus on digital services, how clinicians and support staff deliver care and use systems, and how to make the best use of systems and data.

The trust notes that ‘data’ and ‘systems’ will be at the heart of how care is provided, how clinical workflows are changed, and how culture and delivery underpins its operations.

CLCH’s digital strategy focuses on supporting its four overarching strategic priorities that include integrated care, leading in the system, applying collective expertise and sustainability.

The outlined aims are to improve clinical and care outcomes, including the delivery of care through virtual consultations and remote monitoring. Access to data and helping patients manage their own care is another aim, as well as reducing unwanted variation in care and ensuring information is available to serve population health digital services. Overall, the trust aims to deliver staff productivity gains, enhanced clinical workflows, more flexible work life balance and an ability to work from anywhere.

The digital strategy outlines six themes:

  • Delivering integrated care: including health information exchange, population health, clinical workflow and managing care and capacity as a system
  • Working from anywhere: taking an internet first, cloud-hosting approach, underpinned by single sign-on
  • Delivering care digitally: this theme includes virtual appointments, decision support, mobile apps and remote monitoring
  • Population information: ensuring data can be used for operational performance, prediction and modelling, evaluating clinical pathways, and operational intelligence
  • Service, response, governance and security: this theme looks at identity management, application security, automation and a user portal
  • Leadership, culture, and capability: focuses on communication, digital communities, digital champions, change management, innovation and implement, and the art of the possible.

The trust highlights some of potential challenges and how it plans to approach transformation: “One of the key challenges for the successful delivery of digital change and benefit is ensuring that the technology, systems and processes are successfully and sustainably adopted to enhance care; this will be supported by clinical co-design and driven by clinician and patient experience. In summary the trust has successfully invested in the equipment to support digital, has made advances in the systems to support delivery of care digitally, advanced our informatics capability and delivered pilot adoption of means to enhance care such as remote monitoring.”

The strategy aligns to the four Integrated Care Systems the trust’s services operate in, with each of the ICS digital plans including a health information exchange (HIE). The trust said: “Each of the four ICS digital plans includes a delivered or planned form of HIE for direct care purposes and an ability to share information to serve population health management. CLCH will continue to deliver a shared record with primary care in the existing five Boroughs where this is in place and add Merton by the close of 2021. Migration of community services to the same system as primary care is a costly and disruptive undertaking which will be avoided if information exchange, interoperability and clinical workflows can serve the same purposes. We will contribute to HIE for each core clinical system that we operate, (SystmOne and EMIS) delivering the remaining areas of London and Hertfordshire and allowing a shared record beyond primary care to other health and social care partners.”

The trust has commissioned Capita to explore four areas: to provide a review of clinical system configuration against service design to ensure that the system matches the clinical services and workflows; to ensure that clinical systems are optimised to support staff working in the field and to increase time to care; to deliver standardised clinical record keeping for services to support benchmarking and job planning; and to record and report upon clinical outcomes.

To improve clinical workflow with primary care, the strategy highlights opportunities to utilise common systems using e-referral, e-discharge, tasking and joint care planning.

In the strategy there is also a focus on working towards a ‘digital front door’, which spans patient led booking, hybrid mail, standardising referral and appointment management, proactive management of waiting lists, the introduction of patient initiated follow-ups, and reviewing patient access.

To view the digital strategy, please click here.