News in Brief

News in Brief: laboratory automation agreement, tablets for mental health patients, new North Tees control centre and more

It’s time for another news in brief, and as usual it has been busy in the health tech community this week! Read on to find out some of the top stories from the past few days…

New app to boost staff sharing across Bristol, Somerset and Gloucestershire

A new collaborative project across primary and community care in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire is soon to take off working alongside One Care.

Entitled the “Collaborative Bank”, the aim is to allow the sharing of staff across all care, with the objective of increasing workforce agility and opportunities for staff to develop their skills and experience across the trust and care system.

It will be supported by a phone-based app, where staff will be able to view shifts at their own and other care settings. The intention is to reduce the need for agency staff, in order to reduce costs.

Insource and Logan Tod & Co announce strategic data and analytics partnership

Insource has formed a new strategic partnership with Logan Tod & Co to help NHS organisations to use their existing data to visualise how patients interact with the NHS across all sites.

This new solution aims to support NHS providers to streamline patient journeys – and relies on end-to-end patient pathways from different NHS systems, which Insource have specialised in delivering for 20 years.

Matthew Tod, Chief Data Officer at Logan Tod, said: “Our joint aim is to help the NHS get through the huge electives task as fast and efficiently as possible. Our process mining work with Insource has highlighted how huge productivity improvements can be made across the service. Getting the right patient to meet the right clinician at the right time avoids situations where, for example, a patient may be scheduled to meet a consultant before their scans or test results are available.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS FT help patients become better connected

Head to Toe, the charity of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, has purchased tablets for mental health patients to stay better connected with their family and friends.

The tablets are to help patients focus on their recovery and organise elements of their lives. This could include connecting to internet banking and looking after finances, or simply connecting with their family to keep up with how they are progressing.

Funds that are raised by the Head to Toe charity are used to improve a number of facilities and support patients and staff at the hospital trust.

East Kent Hospitals and Source LDPath partner up to cut pathology waiting times

The trust has teamed up with Source LDPath, part of SourceBio International Plc, by sending digital images of slides to Source LDPath’s network of pathologists so that they can be checked for diseases.

The results are sent back to the trust in an average of two days, with more than 4,000 cases that have been examined digitally since December 2021.

“Demand for histopathology is increasing every year and limited numbers of pathologists can mean delays in diagnosis for our patients,” said Marcus Coales, General Manager for Pathology for the trust. “This innovative approach helps to minimise delays, which means patients can start treatment earlier and have better outcomes in many cases. We think it could be a good example of what can be achieved with a digital approach to pathology.”

University Hospital Southampton signs collaboration agreement to automate laboratories 

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has signed a commercial collaboration agreement with Automata, a London-based biotech company providing robotic automation solutions to the life sciences industry.

Automata successfully implemented new automated technology as part of the national COVID-19 testing programme, with the partnership now intended to explore further clinical use cases in other areas of laboratory medicine. It aims to optimise Automata’s expertise in lab automation at scale.

“A key legacy of delivering saliva testing as part of the national COVID-19 response has been how we can apply the automation of processes on a wider scale across the clinical sector,” said Martin Gossling, Head of Commercial Innovation at UHS, said: “Partnering with Automata has allowed us to combine our knowledge of laboratory work and access to it, with their technological solutions that will ultimately result in more efficient processes at scale that will benefit the NHS and the patients we serve.”

Portable airway equipment donation improves patient care at Basildon Hospital

The device, called a video laryngoscope system, is now in use at the Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) at Basildon Hospital, made possible thanks to a donation of £13,563 by the League of Friends for Basildon Hospital.

“With this new portable device, we can now view patients’ complex airways at any time, and in any place, helping improve the patient experience and their care,” said Gyanesh Namjoshi, CTC Anaesthesia Clinical Lead. “This machine has already reduced complications and cancellations for patients who have airways which would have previously proved difficult to access, so this funding from the League of Friends is gratefully received.”

League of Friends for Basildon Hospital has raised £1.6 million in total, with all funds set to be ploughed back into equipment to help patients at the hospital.

Control centre to improve patient journey at University Hospital of North Tees

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has launched an Integrated Co-ordination Centre to track patients through each stage of their hospital journey.

The new room has been custom-built in the middle of University Hospital of North Tees and features a new system known as OPTICA, which uses real-time data of activity such as demand for beds, amount of patients in hospital and number of beds available to make decisions on patient flow from the moment they enter to when they leave.

“This new room allows us to see a live picture of all activity within our two hospital sites,” said Vicky Cardona, Continuous Improvement Manager. “This information is available virtually for all our experienced staff in the control centre – a site manager is responsible for any operational decisions. This new system means the team can make accurate decisions about each patient based on the most up to date and accurate information.”

East of England trusts to digitise pathology services following contract with Sectra 

Pathologists working at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, along with West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, will be able to better collaborate following a new agreement signed in April 2022 with medical imaging technology provider Sectra.

Sectra’s digital pathology solution will allow pathology specialists to access digital images of patient tissues to carry out reports. Multi-disciplinary teams will be able to view the images, with trusts able to pool resources to make best use of capacity and also improving flexibility through home working.

The programme is expected to support specialist pathways such as cancer pathways, and will support around 1.5 million examinations per year.

“As a district general hospital, a proportion of our patients are referred to specialist hospitals. Improved data sharing with these specialist centres will improve the turnaround time in the patient’s pathway,” said Sarah Rollo, Pathology Project Manager at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. “Digital pathology has also facilitated the introduction of digital processes within the laboratory, reducing the need for manual transcription and improving patient safety.”