CIO interview: Jeffrey Wood, deputy director of ICT, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

Advances in innovation can assist to alter client look after the much better and Jeffrey Wood, deputy director of ICT at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, is satisfying a long-held aspiration to turn digital change into a life-altering procedure

Wood identifies that his profession history is more diverse than that of most IT executives. After beginning in the Royal Navy, he moved into the economic sector and worked for a series of business, consisting of a series of monetary services companies. After operating in city government, and a six-year stint with Essex County Council, he signed up with the rely on 2018.

” At that time, regional authorities and health organisations were beginning to have more joined-up conversations,” he states. “I began to get associated with the health side of things. My partner is a nurse and, seeing the aggravations and issues she has on a day-to-day basis, I simply felt I might do something favorable.”

Wood was provided the chance to put his prepare for proactive modification into action at the trust, that includes the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, the Herts and Essex Hospital in Bishop’s Stortford, and St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping. He states the previous couple of years have actually included developing a more technology-enabled organisation.

” A great deal of the early years when I signed up with had to do with reorganizing the IT department and putting in location some huge modifications to make us more nimble,” he states. “And then, when Covid-19 came, I was happy we ‘d began all that work since it settled. Everyone might take laptop computers house, so our innovation was working a lot much better.”

Wood’s group is now pressing on and thinking of how to benefit from an entire host of technological advances, from headsets to holograms and on to mobile phones.

” There’s a lot more that can be done which we’ve still got to do,” he states. “We’ve got many strategies therefore lots of concepts. It’s everything about moving us into the digital age.”

” We’ve got numerous strategies therefore lots of concepts. It’s everything about moving us into the digital age”

Jeffrey Wood, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

As well as serving the city, the trust’s healthcare facilities handle clients sent out from London. Princess Alexandra is likewise the designated healthcare facility for Stansted Airport. The trust is presently developing a new healthcare facility on a new website in Harlow.

” That provides us a great deal of capability to do evidence of idea, to make some modifications and buy innovation, so that the brand-new medical facility will be the most highly advanced in Europe when it opens,” states Wood.

In truth, the trust is currently carrying out pioneering trials. Among these includes a Microsoft HoloLens evidence of idea, which is planned to produce a virtual ward round. The innovation would suggest that rather of 10 or 15 individuals loafing a bed speaking with the client, the trust would just require a single person to head out and speak to the client utilizing a headset. Everybody else would have the ability to see the discussion through individual gadgets.

Wood states the innovation might supply a huge increase to training procedures. He provides the example of maternity wards, where the just efficient manner in which junior personnel can get to grips with work requirements is to see what takes place in practice.

” When there are problems, you need to call someone in,” he states. “Having half a lots individuals loafing a client’s bed who is delivering is not perfect for any person. The HoloLens simply offers that benefit. If individuals have actually discovered something, they can choose a consultation practically instantly.”

Wood’s group likewise wants to connect the innovation to its continuing advancement efforts around electronic health records and its cooperation platforms, consisting of Microsoft Teams.

” Staff will see all the information in front of them,” he states. “They will not need to go back to a computer system. The details will exist.”

Taking the stress practically

Another pioneering trial consists of the intro of a holographic virtual receptionist. Wood states his group is dealing with this job now with a series of innovation partners. The job was because of go live in 2015 however, was postponed since of Covid.

” Hospitals can have troubles with language barriers,” he states. “This innovation offers us a center to enhance our existing receptionists and enables individuals to be directed around the healthcare facility in their own language. Due to the fact that it’s a hologram, it’ll have the ability to do sign language too.”

Wood states the long-lasting objective would be to produce a kiosk where individuals connect with the hologram and are immediately directed to the right area in the medical facility. By allying the virtual receptionist to human personnel, he anticipates to minimize the pressure on individuals at the front desk and to enhance their efficiency.

Some of the tasks that Wood’s group have actually been associated with throughout the previous couple of years, such as the intro of the electronic health record, will offer a platform for more advances. Significant facilities work likewise consisted of removing a 1989 telephone network and changing it with a cloud-based, voice-over IP system.

Wood states the trust’s designers are examining other locations, consisting of how they may make use of robotic procedure automation. What is clear, he states, is that the rate of improvement is considerable: “There’s been huge quantities of modification.”

Overcoming considerable difficulties

These technological advances are a substantial advance when compared to the level of digitisation Wood acquired when he signed up with the rely on2018 Throughout his time at the organisation, he has actually assisted to supervise a multi-pronged digital change program that covers hardware, software application and information.

Four years earlier, more than 65% of the trust’s hardware was at least 7 years of ages, regardless of the organisation having a five-year IT revitalize policy. There was likewise a heavy dependence on desktops instead of laptop computers. Wood and his group fulfilled these obstacles head-on.

The trust has actually relocated to Microsoft Office 365 and, thus lots of other organisations, has actually ended up being a heavy user of Teams. Throughout the previous 2 years, these financial investments have actually assisted to make sure client care has actually been prioritised at a time of crisis– however that procedure likewise implied a lot of effort for Wood and his group.

” Covid put the concentrate on IT and demonstrated how innovation might help in the essential work that the trust carries out,” he states. “But, naturally, that indicated a great deal of my personnel were working 6 and even 7 days a week, and in some cases 10- hour days, myself consisted of, to attempt to help and press things out.”

Those IT advancements consisted of supplying assistance to clients and households in the most difficult situations. “We were utilizing iPads, so that individuals in the house might speak with their family members in medical facility in a socially distanced way, which was difficult,” he states. “It was an end-of-life circumstance for a number of these individuals.”

Maintaining IT devices was likewise a difficulty. Covid limitations implied some wards ended up being out-of-bounds locations. A few of the IT group’s workplace, on the other hand, was become medical area to assist handle the increase of clients.

” It was a truly bumpy ride,” states Wood. “The group worked extremely tough and I’m really happy with whatever they did.”

Creating a brand-new technique to service

Another crucial job throughout the previous year has actually been the intro of tighter IT service management (ITSM) throughout the trust through the execution of Freshworks innovation.

The trust is utilizing the cloud-based ITSM platform Freshservice. Wood states the innovation permits the trust to enhance the management of its hardware properties, to increase the quality of procedures associated to the procurement of brand-new package, and to provide personnel with IT provides the chance to self-serve.

His group utilized to get numerous IT demands every day, a few of which involved typical issues, such as password resets. Now, the Freshservice software application reroutes users to a website where they can finish an automatic password reset. The platform likewise holds regularly asked concerns to direct users when they have other IT concerns.

The platform supplies analytics information, which Wood’s group is utilizing to sharpen its self-service technique. Now, most IT issues are handled immediately by users, which indicates health care personnel are not held up by IT issues and the innovation department can direct its resources to locations that have a direct influence on client care.

” The something that we utilize the most as a department is our IT service management tool,” states Wood. “So, having the ideal tool in location to assist us make it through all the modification processes that we’re carrying out simply makes whatever a lot easier.”

Pushing brand-new advances

Two years from now, Woods imagines that a great deal of the trust’s pioneering proof-of-concept work will have transitioned into an accepted method of operating.

” The pagers and bleeps will be gone, and we’ll be utilizing iPhones and iPads to interact,” he states. “There will not be that preconception, like there remained in the past, where nurses were not enabled to bring phones around with them.”

The trust is checking out how the Apple Watch can be utilized to keep nursing personnel notified and upgraded. Wood describes that nurses aren’t enabled to use any products listed below their elbows, so the trust is changing essential fobs with brand-new ones that consist of Apple Watches. “Using this innovation, nurses can be interacted with a lot more quickly than in the past,” he states.

As the trust has actually currently changed its phone lines with narration IP innovation, Wood states another top priority will be to make sure high levels of durability throughout the network. His group likewise intends to change point options throughout the trust– which presently number as numerous as 300 applications– with a single, integrated electronic health record.

” There will not be papers lying around here, there and all over, which is a significant issue for an organisation like ours,” he states. “I believe digitising and automating a great deal of what the trust does will provide us a technological platform that is prepared for the brand-new health center.”

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