The HETT Unexpected Innovation Awards returns in November 2022 to celebrate the very best in experimental design, collaboration, and leadership in digital healthcare.

The event showcases champions of digital health innovation and highlights some great stories of transformation. The awards bring together the health and care ecosystem and highlights best practice examples to inspire more to do the same. 

The nominees for this category demonstrated their dedication to adapting and supporting the workforce to thrive in digitally enabled health and care settings. They showed best practice application of tools and use of resources to simplify and streamline work processes and facilitate engagement. The three shortlisted submissions for this category are:

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - Mobile App

Since the introduction of electronic patient records, a reliable method to enter data into clinical records or view patient records within the community hasn’t been forthcoming.

Staff routinely entered information when they connected to the NHS network back at base. Appointment allocation was carried out manually by administrative staff.

A digital solution, in the form of a new mobile product that runs on tablet devices, emerged through close collaboration between the community nursing and digital teams.

A robust digital training programme ensured all staff were equipped with the confidence and skills to adapt. The app, along with training, facilitated significant workforce improvement for community nursing and administration staff. 

The investment in workforce improvement led to a significant shift in the way nurses can plan and deliver care with new technological skills, and one that has set the foundation for further digital initiatives for the profession.  

The digital solution now in place is showing that on average each member of nursing staff is now able to accommodate an additional 165 visits per year.  

The close collaboration between nursing and digital teams was invaluable to its success. Out of the 796 tablet devices deployed to facilitate the new digital innovation, 716 devices are being used regularly, which is an adoption rate of approximately 90%. For the 10% who are not using them regularly, the digital training team continues to work with them to build digital capability and competency. 

NHS Covid-19 Digital Staff Passport Team, NHS England 

There are always high levels of staff movements in the NHS and each time a staff member moves they must undergo rigorous pre-employment checks, and multiple statutory and mandatory training programmes at each NHS organisation. It takes weeks to complete. This causes significant strain on resources, resulting in unnecessary duplication, poor staff experience and delays in staff transfers.

Prior to the pandemic, NHSE&I was looking at how to address this and through work with NHSX and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) it was identified a digital passport would provide a safe, robust and technologically advanced solution.

When the pandemic hit, there was an urgent need to deploy staff on a temporary basis. Due to this, the work on developing a digital passport was accelerated. In just ten weeks, the Covid-19 NHS Digital Staff Passport was co-created, built, tested, implemented, and managed.

Staff hold a verified employment record in a secure digital wallet on their smartphone, to share with a host NHS organisation. Onboarding staff now takes minutes rather than weeks, but still provides the same level of assurance, security, and privacy.

To date over 100 NHS organisations have registered and over 1,000 Covid-19 Digital Staff Passports have been issued. This has enabled rapid, safe and secure staff movement without duplication, with an improved staff experience.

The Covid-19 Digital Staff Passport Team made huge technological strides and challenged current and future ways of working.

Rob Galloway, Brighton and Sussex NHS Foundation Trust

The NHS faces an unprecedented staffing shortage, which is particularly acute within emergency medicine. Unsocial and demanding work schedules, alongside rigid workforce management practices, meant the work environment became unbearable for many. 

In 2014, it was identified that Brighton and Sussex University Foundation Trust was in trouble. They could not recruit, or retain staff, and medical students were being deterred from a career in A&E. As a result, over £1 million was spent on junior locums each year. 

Dr Rob Galloway began to reshape the approach to workforce management by focusing on annualisation (calculating and measuring doctors against the working requirement in their contract). The impact of these changes saw recruitment issues ease, locum spend reduce and improved work-life balance for his colleagues.

Dr Galloway then focused on making it scalable. Linking up with HealthRota, a digital workforce management tool was created. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the trust made the decision to use HealthRota for the entire junior workforce. University Hospital Sussex managed junior staff safely and fairly, without taking locums, across the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, saving over £1m through effective workforce management.

More than a third of all ED departments in the UK are now on board, improving doctors’ working conditions and making considerable savings for NHS trusts.

Staff are now happier, have more leave, a more flexible working environment, get more training, and can enjoy a positive working environment. Administration time is down, and the trust has a greater pool of resource to call upon when required.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - EPS Pilot Project 

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted many processes within the trust that were reliant upon paper, postage, and face-to-face contact, all of which were inefficient. Community prescribing was one such process. With a reliance on paper-based prescribing and the requirement for patients to collect their prescriptions on-site, a digital solution was needed to address inefficiencies and improve safety. This required the development of new digital skills and confidence in a digital solution, which would be used by 100 clinicians with varying degrees of digital skills and competence.

The solution would need to improve the patient experience, by increasing prescription security, reducing travel, and reducing infection risk. It would also free-up time for clinicians to see more patients.

The trust collaborated with NHS Digital and CLEO Systems in a first-of-type pilot in secondary NHS care, to implement an Electronic Prescribing System (EPS) to deliver these benefits and support the drive towards digitisation across the NHS. MPFT staff were involved in planning the pilot stage and tailoring the EPS to suit prescriber requirements and providing additional feedback.

The EPS has delivered significant efficiency gains in terms of reducing prescription times and travel – as well as boosting staff confidence, increasing security, and removing risks (forgery and theft of prescriptions). With these safeguards in place, clinicians can also make changes to patient’s medication quickly.

The commitment of the workforce to develop their digital skills and adapt to an ever-developing platform has been outstanding, and the result of the project is a more digital competent workforce that paves the way for further digital innovation in other areas of their work.

Visit the HETT Unexpected Innovation Awards 2022 website for more information about the categories and the upcoming awards ceremony. 

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