West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has received accreditation from NHS England and NHS Improvement as part of its Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme.
In 2018 the GDE programme, to support improvements in patient care through digital technology and information, opened to three ambulance trusts: South Central Ambulance Service NHS FT, West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS FT and North East Ambulance Service NHS FT, with an aim to share their learnings and experiences to allow other trusts to follow.
At WMAS patient records have been brought online to improve access for clinicians, and in 2020/2021, WMAS access to records when a crew attends a patient grew to 58.9%.
Another example of the trust’s digital projects related to digitising the WMAS ‘Make Ready’ process, through which Vehicle Preparation Operatives get vehicles ready for their next shift at 15 operational hubs. Through the project, staff have moved away from paper and whiteboards to a rolling digital screen which contains the information they need to identify their vehicle. As a result, management teams have easy access to vehicle availability and can update crew information remotely.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the trust supported more staff to work from home with the deployment of remote access solutions, 111 First was implemented to book patients into appointments at emergency departments, and non-emergency vehicles were equipped with a new mobile data solution to allow them to support 999 operations.
“A huge amount of work has been completed over the last few years to get to this point, and I want to thank all the staff who have taken on and completed the GDE,” said Craig Cooke, Operational Support Services Director. “We’re now recognised against an international standard of digital capability and maturity and being one of just two ambulance services in the country to achieve this accolade is very special.”
Dermot Ryan, Director of Frontline Digitisation at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “The team at West Midlands Ambulance Service are demonstrating how digital tools and access to data can help mitigate the challenges faced by the ambulance service – from access to patient records when a crew attends an emergency call, to streamlining vehicle preparation. The trust has driven real transformation of how they deliver services, which is improving the experience for patients and staff.”