Solutions that support back office teams aren’t always among the most headline-grabbing but they are hugely important in helping the smooth running and organisation of healthcare settings – the hidden cogs in the wheel.
So, without further ado, we’re pleased to be able to platform our finalists in the ‘Best Digital Programme Supporting Back Office Teams’ category at this year’s Health Tech Awards 2021.
To find out who wins, join us on 7 October. In the meantime, it’s less about the winning and all about the taking part, and celebrating the exciting and innovative work of our entries.
Here’s a little bit more about all four of them…
Ingenica Solutions – 360 IM
First up, Ingenic Solutions submits its work with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), which revolved around using inventory management technology to drive operational efficiencies across the back office, to our awards.
Implementing Ingenica Solutions 360 IM at ELHT has driven adoption of GS1 standards, ‘transformed’ inventory management, improved efficiencies, and the investment has also ‘strongly positioned’ ELHT to maximise savings and efficiencies, according to the company.
At East Lancashire Hospitals, which employs more than 8,000 staff and treats over 700,000 patients annually, the team decided to invest in the future and think more creatively about back-office functions and systems; identifying this as a key area for improvement and modernisation to gain efficiencies.
As an example, with no robust inventory management solution in place, a simple stock re-ordering system created back-office challenges. ELHT required an innovative digital solution to support better processes, to accelerate the adoption of GS1 standards and enable total real-time stock visibility, precise ordering, and improved product traceability.
Challenges included stock wastage, obsolete stock, a reliance on overstocking “just in case”, no product standardisation or stock catalogue, and little accurate data on what exactly was on the shelves. After initial stock audits over 1600 items were found not catalogued.
The team set about meeting ELHT’s system functionality requirements by implementing Ingenica Solutions 360 IM. Designed with a full track and trace facility, it enables ELHT to track and trace products, people, patients, equipment, and locations, for 360-degree visibility and control.
The project began in the Royal Blackburn Hospital Theatre complex, then rolled out further to include the theatre site in Burnley; all theatres are now live with Ingenica Solutions 360 IM.
David Harris, Head of Service for Logistics and Supply Chain at ELHT, said: “Following initial setup and ‘train-the-trainer’ training provided by Ingenica, the rest of the process was completed by the internal stores and implementation team with help and assistance from Ingenica’s site support wherever required. With this knowledge and experience from the first implementation, the second site was completed with minimal intervention from Ingenica in under six months.”
To leverage the initial investment in Ingenica Solutions, ELHT is now exploring other uses of the solution such as loan kits, community care, bed and mattress tracking, and patient flow monitoring. The trust’s ultimate objective is to eventually get a full picture of the end-to-end patient pathway.
Credentially – healthcare recruitment software
Credentially also shares its work with the NHS in this category, explaining how its automated healthcare recruitment software supported the onboarding of thousands of GPs onto a national patient assessment programme in days, as part of its COVID-19 response. The company’s onboarding and compliance software helps healthcare providers to implement a more robust, efficient and cost effective hiring process.
The average time to hire new staff in the healthcare sector is 128 days, according to Credentially, but it says its software solution can reduce the burden of the hiring process by over 90 per cent to as little as 10 days.
By processing clinician applications and right to work checks at pace and scale whilst maintaining CQC compliance, Credentially’s most powerful features help providers to solve this challenge through deep, authorised integrations with healthcare’s credentialing databases. In addition to automated pre-employment checks, Credentially continues to check a clinician’s right to work throughout their employment, ensuring that providers can proactively react to adverse events or licence expiry, which may affect a clinician’s employment status. Credentially maintains active integrations with the GMC, NMC and uCheck, so customers can process DBS checks directly through the Credentially platform.
Credentially also supports candidates by offering a ‘user-friendly, streamlined experience’ to those applying for a post. Through mobile-friendly software, applicants can sign up in minutes via an embedded, branded link on providers’ website, social media or jobs board. Other key features include: Optical Character Recognition (OCR); real-time communication and interactions; e-signatures and policy/document review; the ability to create and distribute questionnaires; DBS update service integration; and auto references.
In 2020, Credentially also partnered with the NHS COVID Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS) as part of its contribution to NHS England’s emergency COVID response. The CCAS was commissioned nationally to deliver remote clinical reviews for patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms following use of NHS 111. To deliver this service, CCAS needed to recruit and onboard thousands of GPs and returning GPs at pace. With only 40 staff to process GP applications, CCAS could manually process a maximum of 50 applications per week.
Credentially supported CCAS to automate the recruitment and onboarding processes and, following the implementation of its software, the CCAS team increased the processing of 50 candidates per week to over 1,000 candidates per week – with fewer staff.
Our next award candidate is Imprivata, after Liverpool Women’s NHS Trust implemented its OneSign and FairWarning solutions to support staff in achieving a culture of trust and respect for sensitive patient information
The NHS trust is using Imprivata OneSign® Single Sign-On and Imprivata FairWarning to enable common working methods for staff, with a consistent, transparent approach to managing and accessing patient data. Both solutions contribute to a culture of safeguarding data and adopting uniform ethical working practices that benefit staff and patients.
Liverpool Women’s specialises in the health of women and their babies, and patient confidentiality and privacy is a top priority for the trust. Safeguarding personal patient data, while supporting back office staff in their work roles are among the key objectives for the Information Governance team, which identified three key areas that it wanted to address to achieve these priorities across the organisation: encouraging adoption of consistent processes to support back office staff; training of staff to ensure data security in working practices; protecting patient privacy and safeguarding personal information.
The Information Governance (IG) team at the hospital configured the FairWarning software to work alongside its Meditech EMR, HR, and Laboratory investigations systems. Working with the Senior Leadership team and HR, the IG project staff designed reports from the software to monitor staff access for records, aligned to job requirements and working procedures. The FairWarning report highlights when access is outside of a clinical or administration requirement and requires further investigation. Guidelines are provided for line managers and HR to assess and validate access when a potential data breach is flagged. The process helps to safeguard data, while also supporting back office staff by providing guidelines and working procedures that make it easier to perform their job roles without fear of privacy breaches.
Matt Connor, CIO, Liverpool Women’s Trust, said: “The trust is becoming more dependent on digital working, aligned with the government’s drive for digital transformation, and is relying more on accessing data than before. As such, we need assurance that the data is being managed safely and that we have the right systems in place to do so. Together Imprivata OneSign Single Sign-On and Imprivata FairWarning give us effective access controls, robust identity governance, and critical data privacy compliance.”
Since implementing Imprivata OneSign and FairWarning solutions, the trust has introduced a ‘zero tolerance policy’ to data privacy breaches. Irregular activity is flagged to the Head of Information and subsequently to the CIO, as well as to the HR team, when deemed appropriate.
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Our final finalist in this category is University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and its Hospital Oxygen Usage Monitoring Application.
Oxygen supply to hospitals was of critical importance during the first and second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, so UCLHC created an app to monitor the flow rate through the hospital’s vacuum insulated evaporator (VIE) – its main oxygen tank – to provide oversight of daily usage.
Hospitals had been warned by NHS England to pay careful attention to their oxygen supplies and daily usage and, as the number of patients requiring oxygen due to coronavirus increased, so did the demand of the flow through the VIE. The trust says that monitoring this flow is difficult and can only be done at the VIE itself if the correct monitoring equipment has been installed. Due to the size of the hospital, multi-site operation and complex VIE install, it came up with an automated solution that uses open-source tools – the methodology and code for which is available on GitHub.
UCLH uses robotic process automation via an open-source project TagUI to go to the website and grab VIE fill data every day. These data are then manipulated in an app built in PHP to calculate flow rate and compare it to the previous days, with an automated email then sent out daily to the estates team, reporting team and clinical managers so there is an awareness of the current usage compared to threshold. The results are then displayed in an app, which has been running for 15 months as an entirely automated solution and has allowed the trust to manage oxygen supplies throughout both waves of the pandemic.