News, NHS trust

Green plan from Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals shares ambitions around digital infrastructure audit and digital strategy development

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust (ESTH) has published a green plan with ambitions including an audit of their digital infrastructure and the development of a new digital strategy which will place focus on whole-system intelligence and health and social care integration.

The green plan shares that the trust is “committed to building a more flexible working environment” which will include “better use of data and electronic systems to improve quality of care and to provide education in innovative ways through better use of technology”.

It sets out a number of key timing goals; 2024 is to see the trust undertake a review of its approach to digital health along with its use of data and intelligence, and by the end of 2024 ESTH plans to have completed its digital infrastructure audit, to help the trust “understand what improvements are necessary for us to meet our digital goals in parallel with our sustainable care principles”. By 2025, the trust states that it will have completed its shift from paper-based to “efficient and effective electronic clinical systems”.

The green plan also draws attention to ESTH’s commitment to deliver against the national ambition to reduce face-to-face attendances by 33 percent, with plans in place to enhance virtual triage.

Expanding on its digital infrastructure plans, the green plan highlights how the trust is working to “create or contribute to digital tools” in order to support self-management; supporting remote care by ensuring “sufficient deployment” of IT resources and digital skills across the workforce; offering teleconference options to patients to improve care at home and reduce waiting time pressures; upgrading IT infrastructure and telephony systems to focus on interoperability, cyber-security and training; and ensuring that the digital service model is designed into the trust’s care pathways.

In addition, ESTH notes that the audit will see digital infrastructure co-designed with patients and the public to ensure that it is “user friendly and equally accessible for all patients”. There will also be assessment as to whether the digital infrastructure  “is the best model of care for all”, taking into account particular needs, for example around autism and dementia. The trust sets out a commitment to “understand when the reduction in or loss of visual cues associated with digital care models is not effective or sufficient for certain patients.”

With regards to data, the green plan highlights an opportunity to reduce energy usage by having a centralised management system in place that can measure data from all meters and spaces and incorporate them into a single software system. This would allow the trust to make “direct comparisons and observations about energy usage”, assisting the identification of unusual consumption patterns and enabling the trust to “build and better understand the annual energy profile”. In addition, the plan adds that use of submeters would allow the monitoring of energy usage of individual factors such as lighting consumption, supporting the trust to identify energy patterns within spaces.

The green plan can be accessed in full here.

In other news from the region, last month we explored the overarching strategy from St George’s, Epsom and St Helier Hospital Group, which highlighted ambitions around digital technology including supporting new models of care and increasing virtual consultations.

In April, we took a look at the role of digital in green plans from five integrated care systems across the country, focusing on Somerset, North East London, Derbyshire, Suffolk and North East Essex, and Norfolk and Waveney. Catch up here.