£10m digital health programme for NHS gets go ahead

GDE Fast Follower funding agreement announcement

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is improving its use of digital solutions

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been given the go ahead to deliver a new programme of digital health technology and electronic patient pathways.

The trust, which is part of the Northern Care Alliance, is partnering with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust to become Manchester’s first Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Fast Follower organisation.

Being a GDE Fast Follower provides us with a great opportunity to try, implement and, if necessary, modify and improve, new technologies to support patient care

The GDE programme is a national initiative which aims to improve digital maturity across the NHS.

A £5m funding boost will be matched by the trust to invest a total of £10m in digital technology and improved patient care systems across hospitals in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and North Manchester.

Dr Georges Ng Man Kwong, consultant chest physician and chief clinical information officer (CCIO) at the trust, said: “This is great news for patients and will mean our patient care systems and processes will become more advanced, using new digital technology.

“Being a GDE Fast Follower provides us with a great opportunity to try, implement and, if necessary, modify and improve, new technologies to support patient care following ‘blueprint’ principles and processes which have already been tested at Salford.

“Importantly, the GDE Fast Follower programme runs alongside our infrastructure improvement and future Electronic Patient Record (EPR) programmes which, as a whole, will enable us to achieve a digital future for healthcare.”

As part of the GDE Fast Follower approach, Pennine aims to replicate a number of projects deployed at Salford Royal.

For example, in the first phase of the programme it will be exploring how staff can use:

  • Digital task management Apps on wards to improve patient task workflow and ultimately improve bed management with prompt discharge of patients
  • Virtual consultation including state-of-the-art mobile robotics to help discharge patients
  • New digital clinical decision support forms to support delirium and dementia, dietetics, VTE, stroke and FNOF pathways
  • Online appointment management system for patients – introducing booking and scheduling reminders for patients in the first phase

And the trust is setting up two new Digital Experience Centres, based at Royal Oldham and Fairfield Hospitals, to showcase some of the new technology for staff and patients.

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