HTN’s interview series: North East London ICB, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire ICB, and more

Here at HTN we’re always speaking to a variety of health tech professionals from different areas across the digital healthcare space, sharing insights from a wide range programmes to offer learnings, inspiration and best practice from other people in the industry.

As we’ve reached the halfway point for 2024, let’s take a look back at some of our interviews from earlier in the year.

Osman Bhatti, GP and chief clinical information officer at North East London ICB

Osman chatted to us about programmes and priorities from the capital, the Digital First programme and his thoughts on digital access to patient records, particularly progress made to date and challenges in this space.

Regarding his learnings from the Digital First programme, Osman said: “It’s been a really good journey, and a lot of it has very much been a team effort. It’s been made easier by the fact that we’ve got a great digital team of clinicians who’ve been clinically leading projects, managerial support and project managers who’ve been really on the ball in terms of making sure things get rolled out properly. It’s made it a lot easier than it could have been. Teamwork, collaboration, everybody wanting to achieve together – they’ve been really positive. Having a monthly catch-up on all of the projects involved was a good idea, and I think we’ve achieved a lot over the last five years which has been a testament to the team.”

Click here to read Osman’s interview.

Sarah Hanbridge, chief clinical information officer for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at Leeds Teaching Hospitals

Sarah joined us to discuss her work developing the trust’s new clinical digital strategy, her focus on engaging the workforce with digital and her advice on how to do this, priorities in Leeds, and more.

“In our VOD programme (visualisation, optimisation and digitalisation), we solely looked at nursing, midwifery and AHP, but now there’s discussions around the wider professions as well, because this isn’t just about nursing. That will be one of our major priorities, but for that to happen, we need to align digital advocates, people who have seen the journey we are on and the vision that we’ve got. We’re also developing a catalogue of learning material such as videos and webinars to help people on the shop floor, as that was one of the playbacks from the discovery work that I did; people didn’t know where to start.”

Sarah’s interview can be read here.

Deborah El-Sayed, director of transformation and chief digital information officer at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire ICB

We sat down with Deborah to chat about her role, current and past projects, and her insights from a career which has spanned local, regional and national levels. 

On projects at BNSSG, Deborah said:  “We’ve just developed our traffic control capability, which we’ve been doing in partnership across our system. The idea is that we’re giving people the information to make better decisions. With that, we can start to see how many people we have in each ED department; I can see how busy our general practices are in different areas of our patch, I can see our community data going live, or how busy 111 is. You can actually start to see the whole system. From an urgent care perspective, it is a connected piece. It’s not just what happens inside that piece, or that part the system, it’s about how these things work together to actually deliver the outcome for the person and ensure that we don’t have ambulances queuing and an overloaded A&E department, that we have enough capacity to be able to think about how we discharge people home.” 

Read Deborah’s interview here.

Ricardo Baptista Leite, CEO at HealthAI, global agency for responsible AI and health and  founder and president of the UNITE

In January, we interviewed Ricardo about the potential and considerations for artificial intelligence, key learnings from his career and his thoughts on the digital healthcare landscape in Portugal.

“AI has a key role to play in freeing up time so that clinicians can get back into contact with their patients too. That may seem a contradiction, but I do believe that machine learning can help us re-conquer the compassion and humanisation of healthcare that we have in many ways lost. I read a study from the UK which said that 70 percent of the time, when the patient is in their GP’s office, they are looking at the back of a screen whilst the doctor is typing. We need to get that screen out of the way, we need to get back to face-to-face contact with eye contact, where doctors have the time to do a physical assessment and hold a proper conversation.”

Read Ricardo’s interview here.

Jessie Dhaliwal, digital nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals

From Jessie, we heard about her route into digital nursing and her hopes for the profession in the future as well as insights into the digital projects she supports in Leeds.

“Digital nursing is not all about the technical side of things. There is management and data work involved – for example, sourcing specific data so that we can demonstrate what we are doing to the CQC. But from my perspective, I’m still looking after my patients; I actually need that data so that I can assess if something is working for my patients or not, or if I need to implement something to make it better. I think it’s really important that students know what a clinical digital nurse is, so they know that they are a nurse at heart. I would like more people to know about the opportunities that are out there, and what could be possible for them in the future.”

Click here to read more from Jessie.

Stephen Bromhall, chief digital information officer at East of England Ambulance Service

Stephen joined us to discuss how digital is being used to make improvements across areas such as workforce, operations and patient engagement at his trust, as well as recent digital projects and priorities.

“We are continuing to work with our electronic patient care record platform, starting to bring more functionality into that solution; and we’re now connecting via our integration engine to our first ICS, so that we can share information jointly between our frontline clinicians and the hospital staff. We’re looking at then rolling that out across the other five ICSs this year. It’s been a long-term piece of work, but it gives us the ability to share our records through a national stage, this makes a real difference to our patients. When our crews need to look at historic records, we’re making sure that we can both consume and supply our records across different care settings.”

Read more from Stephen here.

And if you’d like to explore our interviews further, click here to see who else we’ve been chatting to.