This year HETT is proud to launch the Unexpected Innovation Awards, which is celebrating the very best of experimental design, creative thinking and radical innovation from the health and care sector this past year.

After a year of huge transformation driving the health and care sector as a whole to deliver over and above all expectations, we felt this year was the right time to launch this award and the scale and standard of submissions did not disappoint.

From amongst an exceptionally high calibre of nominations, we are pleased to present to you the Finalists in the Team award category.

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Message to a loved one team April 2020
'The Message to a Loved One Team'
Princess Alexandra Hospital Harlow NHS Trust

The Message to a Loved One team comprises six volunteers; physician associates (Bruno and Nirali) and IT experts (Kevin, Tony, Paul and Jeff). It is headed by Phillipa and completes several important tasks that improve the care experience of patients, using available technology to link patients with their families.

Supported by the likes of Bournemouth and former Spurs footballer Adam Smith, the team facilitates Virtual Visit video calls, a service available seven days a week. This is done through the NHS video conferencing platform Attend Anywhere®, which is familiar to many local residents.

There is no need to download an app or sign up for anything. Simply click the provided link at the agreed time and the two parties are brought together virtually.

Using multiple modes of technology, any phone calls are sent to a cloud-based telephony system and emails are sent via their hospital NHS address. Using these solutions, the Message to a Loved One team can deliver care and connectivity across the front line, presented efficiently within a cyber-secure environment. 

The service is proving successful. In the first year, over 1000 messages and virtual visits were delivered with these numbers continuing to rise. Before this, people were cut off from their loved ones due to restrictions, but people can speak to their loved ones again through the right identification of a connectivity solution.

The team believes having a digital culture is integral to the development of healthcare, building on the core value of having the patient at heart. In the future, they hope to:

  • Deliver world-class care with the principle of moving to cloud-based services.
  • Continue increasing the delivery of remote healthcare using telemedicine and monitoring platforms.
  • Champion interoperability across care providers.
  • Introduce tablet devices personalised at each bedside. 

The service the Message to a Loved One team delivers is seen as ‘exceptional’ and ‘greater than could ever have been expected'. The team delivers an efficient and emotionally impactful service, with one family member describing the service as an “absolute godsend.”

“It’s tough in the middle, but it’s also giving us the ability to see the proof that this service is critical in the lives of those around us,” revealed their team leader, Phillipa. “Even speaking to those who need to ‘say goodbye’, ‘I’m sorry I’m not with you’, ‘we’re with you all the way’ ‘keep fighting’, ‘can you put your teeth in’ allows us the privilege to be part of a family’s fight to be where they belong.”


'Emergency Access Coordination Hub integration programme'
London Ambulance Service and Barts Health Trust

Our next team finalist represents a collaborative team of the London Ambulance Service and Barts Health Trust. They have worked together within the London Ambulance Service Integrated Patient Care Directorate, developing the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and Barts Emergency Access Coordination Hub (LAS 111/999 BEACH) integration programme.

The Directorate’s main aim is to ensure the same level of support whether they call 999 or 111. Its team is comprised of four sectors that cover:

  • Incident management and service delivery.
  • Operational supervision of control centres.
  • Operation supervision for our clinical services.
  • Service & partnership development.

The LAS 111/999 BEACH Programme coordinates access for patients who require secondary urgent and emergency care.

This team has been nominated due to the ‘unique collaboration that has exposed the benefits of integration in the management of secondary care patients through digital interoperable solutions.’

The team has exposed the positives of sharing electronic records through clinical systems, video consultations, SMS and electronic referral and how these directly impact patient experience and outcomes, working to improve them. The Directorate team worked notably outside normal boundaries, ‘maximising the digital benefits of the available systems'.

The Programme offers an innovative alternative to booking patients who called 111 directly into ED appointment slots, also facilitating a remote consultation (through Attend Anywhere®) between secondary care consultants and the paramedic on scene. This allowed consultants to review, triage and manage the patient remotely and reduce face-to-face contact. 

This Programme was ultimately driven by feedback from frontline staff who saw a unique opportunity to increase management of patients at home. It reduced the risk of patients travelling to busy EDs and increased accessibility and connectivity, being hailed as an “impressive response to COVID,” and “a fantastic example of inter-organisational collaboration, the development of new systems, the use of QI approaches and the successful integration of digital technologies.”


'NGH Automation Accelerator Programme'
Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Created to lead and support intelligent automation adoption across the NHS and also combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Automation Accelerator Programme consists of 30 NHS staff members who bring innovation and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to their Trust and further afield.

COVID-19 led to chronic understaffing and longer hours for working staff, alongside a steep increase in mundane, repetitive tasks. The Automation Accelerator Programme uses RPA to automate these tasks, freeing up valuable time and enabling higher accuracy for tasks.

The organisation has been able to:

  • Repurpose 115,000 hours through automation.
  • Encourage economies of scale across many Trusts that operate within the NHS.
  • Share best practices and case studies to highlight the impact of automation as the NHS continues to digitalise.
  • Increase capacity through cost-saving measures.
  • Kickstart work that may have been on hold due to a mass of repetitive tasks. 

On top of this, the hope for RPA is it will ‘help to shape the NHS going forward, enabling one of the world's biggest organisations to overcome challenges such as limited recruitment capabilities, vastly different levels of education across NHS organisations and fear of change in adopting new methods.’

The NGH Automation Accelerator team have also helped increase knowledge and resource sharing, which provides a wealth of other benefits in itself. For example, Trusts can see which automations have the highest returns or the ones which are most in-demand, meaning other Trusts can quickly discover what works.

This team has been nominated because they have ‘proven to be pivotal in the digital transformation of the NHS and proving innovation does not need to stop in the middle of a crisis.’

Using their initiative in a time rife with reactive behaviour, they have created a programme that improves the experience of both NHS staff and patients. “As a team, they have gone above and beyond to spread the word of automation and the benefits it provides.”

To find out which of these inspiring teams will take home the first-ever HETT Unexpected Innovation 'Team Award', register for your free conference pass to HETT and join us on 28 September at the ExCeL London.

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