New digital initiatives to help transform care at Noble’s Hospital

A major new component in the Government’s Digital Strategy has been launched at a special presentation for staff at Noble’s Hospital.

The presentation saw the Minister for Health and Social Care, Howard Quayle, announce a number of initiatives which will accelerate the introduction of new digital ways of working across all parts of the hospital, with a particular commitment to removing paper records by the end of 2018.

Under the heading of ‘Digital Future’ the programme includes a range of changes which are designed to increase efficiency and deliver enhanced care for all patients.

The changes come as part of the Isle of Man Government’s Digital Strategy, which aims to use technology to further improve all of the Island’s public services.

A key element of the programme is the scanning and digitisation of around 100,000 medical and maternity records, which are currently held in paper-based folders, and which occupy an increasing amount of storage space.

The digitisation of these records will mean that access to patient records by front-line medical and nursing staff will be significantly faster and with a considerable reduction in manual filing, tracking, searching and retrieving records.

It will also save around 90% of the current health records storage space. And with new records being created at the rate of approximately 7,000 sheets per day, the pressure on this space is becoming a real concern.

Linked into this are a number of other digital improvements, supporting front-line staff across the hospital and further afield:

  • Clinical Assessment and Noting – a full range of digital templates, designed in conjunction with professional users, helping to reduce substantially the number of new paper records created every day
  • Order Communications System – the digital streamlining and reporting of test requests and results, increasing both speed and efficiency
  • Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration – an automated digital prescribing system, with a focus on driving down prescription wastage and medicine costs

E-Discharge – using digital technology to ensure that a patient’s stay in hospital is not unnecessarily extended.

Speaking to an audience of clinical and support staff at the launch of the Digital Future programme, Minister Quayle described his full support for the initiative and reflected on the importance of technology in ensuring services are fully equipped for the digital future.

“Along with the rest of the world we are moving into an increasingly digital age, where paper and scribbled notes – with all their inefficiencies and potential for error – will fade into the past.  Digital platforms ensure that those who need information have access to it, with patients themselves increasingly in charge of their own information.”

He continued: “That’s why this programme is focused on bringing in real and positive change. Change that will see tangible benefits for everyone on the Island, bringing down costs by improving efficiency, and giving all our health and social care professionals the tools they need.”

At the same event, the Executive Director for Acute Healthcare, Michaela Morris, commented: “Let me also emphasise that this is a major commitment, building on the work already undertaken across many parts of the hospital.  This is a critically important initiative with real benefits to all the patients we serve.  Many UK trusts have struggled to do this, but I am confident that we will achieve our goal of removing paper records by the end of 2018.”

With more technical transformation still to come, this key development is further evidence of the Government’s overall commitment to its Digital Strategy.

Mark Lewin, Director of Government Technology Services, said: “The Digital Strategy last year set out a general direction for health and social care.  Since then we’ve seen the first steps on this journey such as giving individuals access to parts of their own GP record, and the piloting of integrated ‘tablet’ devices to track patients’ vital signs, instantly alerting the relevant healthcare teams.

“The commitments in today’s launch reflect the Government’s three digital principles: Thinking Digitally – let’s get all the paper out of the system and have modern digital systems in place; Working Together – joining these systems up so they work seamlessly together; and Learning Intelligently – harnessing the power of information and making it easily available to those that need it, including patients.  Alongside many other exciting developments, the delivery of these crucial services is going to positively transform the way we deliver health and social care across the whole Island.”