The Wonderful World of Digital Health & Care

Here in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC), the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHPs) are collaboratively driving the digital agenda forward for the benefit of both our service users and our professions.

Digital Health was becoming increasingly pervasive in clinical processes,often transforming services and requiring significant clinical change, and such changes, previously driven by the eHealth agenda, were introducing a range of risks that required broad consideration within the clinical governance environment.

Taking this into consideration, NHSGGC decided to invest in dedicated eHealth Clinical Lead resource. Whilst these roles do not carry the description of Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO), the CCIO model is the basis on which these roles have been designed. We have dedicated Nursing/Midwifery (Myself)and AHP (Gwen Carr) Clinical Digital Health roles in place. As NMAHP Leads we operate within a combined Clinical Leadership Team, thereby ensuring a joined-up multidisciplinary leadership resource that is sponsored by the relevant clinical leaders within our organisation.  

Since we started, we have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and passion that NMAHPs have for digital advancements across our services. We fully appreciate that digital working represents a high degree of expectation for our staff especially when we are always looking to improve and enhance delivery of health and care services with the person at the centre. We hope you enjoy reading our blog which has been developed with support from colleagues, and learning about our successes and the future opportunities. The fundamental responsibility of our role as Clinical eHealth Leads is to:

  • lead on Digital Health enabled service transformation, often beyond our own area of clinical expertise
  • create direction, aligning others around it
  • assure Digital Health solutions are reflective of clinically derived priorities and have the widest possible ‘sponsorship’
  • influence and engage colleagues across a broader range of stakeholders, linking to and influencing appropriately, extant management governance bodies
  • systematically assure that clinicians views and needs are driving decision making

From a national perspective, the NMAHP Digital health and Care Network (dNMAHP) is a group of over 400 Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals throughout Scotland from clinical, social care, third sector, academic and policy settings who have a declared interest in Digital Health and Care related practice and who wish to share and learn with others. The network was established in 2013 and over that time has grown to include professionals from throughout Scotland involved in wide-ranging digital initiatives and activities. The Overarching dNMAHP Aims are:

  • To increase the capacity and competencies of the NMAHP Digital Health and Care related workforce
  • To encourage the better use of data in NMAHP service planning, delivery and improvement to support transformation
  • To use digital technologies to help citizens manage their own health and wellbeing and particularly in community and homely settings
  • To raise awareness of and publicise the benefits of NMAHP Digital Health and Care related practice

To date in NHSGGC, we have successfully secured 37 x NMAHPs (15 Nurses & Midwives and 22 Allied Health Professionals) who have completed or are currently on the NMAHP Digital Health Leadership Programme since its inception in 2014. The project work undertaken locally has crossed many working boundaries, and although not exhaustive ranges from the aim to:

  • Improve and establish the online presence of maternity services in NHSGG&C by creating a series of online patient information videos. It strives to be patient-led; making the information our women and families want to see online in a more modern, engaging and accessible way.
  • Implement TRAKCARE for out-patient scheduling and referral management in Acute Speech & Language Clinics across GG&C
  • Develop clinical forms & pathways within clinical portal and in line with service requirements to support local and Scottish Government targets to reduce paper usage, promote paper-lite practices, and improve delivery & sharing of clinical information
  • Provide a journal club for NHSGGC Specialist Children Service Paediatric Physiotherapists with use of Video Conferencing.
  • Introduce and use a comprehensive drug dictionary into a new product to aid medicines reconciliation and discharge. This used the UK wide DM+D (dictionary of medicines and devices) to connect with the Emergency Care Summary and start immediate discharge letters.
  • Increase student awareness of digital professionalism, equip them with the skills to positively manage their digital identity and protect them and others from the misuse of digital information.
  • Provide reliable evidence-based information on health and healthy living for children; ultimately providing resources to which NHS services can signpost families and help to achieve a digital-first approach.
  • Provide professional project management for the coordination and development of EMIS, across the Rehabilitation Services a highly complex and changing environment with competing priorities.
  • Improve Teenagers and Young Adults (TYA) within cancer care services for patients and health professionals alike. By implementing an electronic Holistic Needs Assessment to enhance the delivery of person-centred, developmentally-appropriate, needs-led interventions and support by co-designing and implementing a digital resource for TYA with cancer in collaboration with the national forum for young people with cancer.
  • Introduce a new Digital Health outpatient clinic service by improving the patient experience by facilitating easily accessible nurse led virtual clinics for the return visits for Spinal Injury patients, to reduce the amount of Did Not Attends (DNAs), especially for those patients receiving annual reviews.

There has been an exponential amount of quality improvement methodologies utilised to ensure the success of the NMAHP Digital Health project work streams by process mapping; root cause analysis; stakeholder analysis; applying Plan, Do Study Act (PDSA) cycles and action planning to bring many of the programmes to fruition.

So it is very exciting times not only within our NHS Board but nationally too and we should all aim to ensure the NMAHP Digital Journey leads us on a path of discovery in how we can digitise our services in the future… So come and join us and fly the NMAHP flag for a Digital Scotland.

SBBy Sandra Blades, Nursing & Midwifery Clinical Health Lead & Chair of the National NMAHP Digital Health Steering Group and Network.

Follow me on Twitter: @SandraBlades

N.B: All of this week’s blogs are also available via Scotland’s new Digital Health and Care Website If you’ve not visited yet, why not take a look at it now and tell us what you think of it via the online survey.

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