• Salford Royal unveils 10-year “digital control centre” project
  • Expected to bring significant reduction in trust’s bed base and staffing costs
  • Tech giant Hitachi and trust to share risk of savings not being delivered

A leading acute trust has struck a £25m partnership deal with Hitachi Consulting to streamline its care processes with data and digital technology.

The “digital control centre” project will be deployed across Salford Royal Foundation Trust over the next 10 years. The trust said it would bring a significant reduction in the trust’s bed base and staffing costs.

The trust said the partnership would include programmes that uses the trust’s patient data to make more accurate predictions about demand; enable real-time information about staffing constraints, bed availability and discharge planning; and improve the flow of information.

The trust, part of the Northern Care Alliance Group, said staff “will be able to better match patient and service user individual needs to available resources so that waste and waiting is minimised”.

It expects the project to help optimise the use of beds, operating theatres and equipment.

The partnership means both parties will be involved in its development and share the risk of the expected benefits not being realised, including a reduction of around 80 beds, the trust said.

The trust said it would be almost completely funded through the forecast cost savings delivered over 10 years, with Hitachi’s fees reducing if those forecasts are not met.

The deal included capital spending on new technology, but also revenue spending on change management, from additional partners, including KPMG.

There is also an option to extend the programme to a total value of £50m, if the first stage is successful.

The project is partly modelled on the sought after “command centre” at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Chief executive Raj Jain told HSJ the project would go beyond the relatively advanced TeleTracking systems deployed by some trusts, by introducing systems to predict demand and resource needs.

He said Salford Royal was well placed to pursue the project because it had many years of patient data collected through its electronic patient record.

He added: “For staff, I am sure it can feel like a daily fire-fighting exercise to ensure our patients are admitted appropriately, that they get to see the right healthcare professionals, have the treatment they need and then are discharged appropriately. We believe this programme will revolutionise the system.”

There will be a longer-term plan to expand the project to the Pennine Acute Hospitals sites, which are also part of the NCA Group. Salford Royal was selected as one of the original global digital exemplars and is considered one of the most digitally advanced trusts in England

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