Information, and informatics, can play a pivotal role in delivering the transformational agenda required for constant improvement in safety, effectiveness and patient experience says Stuart Bain
As an acute trust chief executive, it is my responsibility to constantly challenge whether we are providing the best, safest, most patient-centred care we can.
Information, and informatics, can play a pivotal role in delivering the transformational agenda required for constant improvement in safety, effectiveness and patient experience.
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At East Kent Hospitals our strategy is not to go paperless for the sake of it but to transform the way we do business. For example, by sharing data on current emergency department attendances in real time with the local community trust and local hospices, we are able to flag patients in our acute setting that could be cared for more appropriately in a primary care setting or, indeed, at home.
By sending alerts to our clinicians and managers on smartphones we are able to address issues of flow through our trust, not simply monitor how busy our emergency departments are.
‘Our key strategic drive is to link data across boundaries’
We think it’s important to invest in informatics, as distinct from IT.
This not only enables managers to plan better but, more importantly, clinicians are, for example, able to track patient vital signs in real time.
Our key strategic drive is to link data across boundaries. We have the aspiration to provide a view of our hospital activity as transparently as possible to other providers, to CCGs, to GPs and, most importantly, to patients.
An appreciation at board level of the possibilities provided by this technology is very important.
Boards need to shift the emphasis from retrospective information merely tracking organisational performance to real time information, ensuring a higher quality of service and experience to every patient every day.
Stuart Bain is chief executive at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust