News, Secondary Care

Midlands Partnership NHS FT releases new digital strategy

The Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) has published a new digital strategy to cover the next five years, from 2021 to 2026.

The publication explains how the strategy will enhance care for service users, staff and partners, before delving into its priorities and how they will be achieved, as well as focusing on how others will be able to see and measure the improvements.

As well as offering audio and easy read versions of its plans, the trust has also released a short video to describe what it’s been working on – with an introduction by Martyn Perry, Associate Director of Digital Transformation at Midlands Partnership NHS FT. He said: “As the author, I felt it was really important to understand not only the strategic ambitions of the organisation but also those daily challenges in which digital services should be helping.”

Martyn explains that, over six months, his team undertook organisational consultation – involving over 250 people and 100 hours of conversations – to help the team identify the three main ambitions that would be at the heart of the strategy.

“We hope this strategy will have a positive impact for everyone; for our service users and carers, and our staff,” he added.

Watch the quick clip here:

The publication makes sure to underline that it is putting ‘people at the heart’ of the digital strategy and outlines that its three main aims are:

  • That service users and staff experience an ‘NHS and social care that acts as one, working in seamless partnership with 3rd sector colleagues across all care settings’ through the processes that it digitises
  • To connect service users and staff to ‘secure and reliable systems that are flexible, accessible and offer more choice in how care is accessed and delivered’
  • To inform service users and staff through ‘data that remains private and is used and shared for the purpose of health and social care only’.

Steve Martin, Chief Nursing Information Officer, said: “Our digital strategy sets out how we will bring service users and clinicians closer together. Our digital programme supports our workforce delivering clinical services and care pathways in a more efficient way, releasing time to care.”

The plans highlight the need for a single care plan with ‘personalised care across the entire health and social care system through digitally connected care pathways that will be redesigned’ to ‘make it easier for both service users and staff to know where they are in their care’.

It also acknowledges that it’s important to ‘engage with service users, carers and staff ‘ so that they can ‘feel confident and comfortable using new digital developments’.

On top of its priorities, the MPFT strategy says that its vision also falls into three main areas: digitising care pathways to reduce paper and improve security; connecting people with ‘reliable and secure IT’; and to inform care and decision making through ‘the power of data’.

The document then goes on to list the benefits for patients, staff and partners across a range of areas.

For service users, MPFT says that the new strategy will give them greater choice over, and access to, their care through services and systems that are easier to use and that can help them to make better decisions. There will be ‘flexible alternatives’ when digital is not suitable.

In the areas of wellbeing and prevention, patients can expect ‘digitally enabled care pathways’ that offer clearer advice and guidance for ‘how to access online health promotion, self-management support materials, e-therapeutic platforms, community service sign-posting, self-assessment services, self-referral options and wellbeing apps’.

For digital inclusion and equality, the trust will provide assistance with digital for anyone that needs it and tailor services based on people’s preferences, needs and capability. It will also ensure patients have the ‘right education and skills’ and support this through training, guides and videos.

And, in regards to estates, it says all buildings will be ‘compliant, effective, and exceed the expectations of all users’, as well as eco-friendly, and feature digital signage and wireless. While, remote care and monitoring options will result in less travel, more independence and greater flexibility.

On how the strategy will enhance digital services for staff, a number of points are laid out. These include:

  • Digital skills and confidence through accessible and inclusive training
  • Communications and awareness of new systems with staff receiving news on developments and opportunities
  • Using data to empower people and provide insight, with data reporting to progress from description to prediction
  • Remote and agile working through collaborative spaces, bookable hot desks and equipment that allows people to work from home
  • Service user and carer engagement with many ways to provide feedback
  • Connectivity, performance and security through ‘reliable networks, devices and systems’ and data kept securely and privately
  • Workflow processes and paperless operations, including automation.

For partners, meanwhile, the trust adds that they can expect ‘secure access to relevant information to support population health management and to reduce health inequalities’, working together through the Integrated Care System (ICS) localities, strategic partnerships and customer focus.

The MPFT also sets out how it plans to achieve all this across its five-year roadmap and also notes how it will measure its success, before going on to sum up its digital offer and ‘seven digital principles’.

Basing its offer around ‘TRUST’, MPFT explains it will build its digital capabilities through: Trusted digital services; Responsive approaches; Understanding our services; Safety, confidence and quality; Technology that is kept up to date.

This will include initiatives such as collaborating around problem solving, co-design and tackling digital inequality by providing technology for staff and patients who may not have the means.

To read the strategy in full, choose from a number of options here.