Featured finalists: best in class at supporting patients and patient safety

As part of our build-up to the Leading Healthcare Awards 2021, we’re taking a closer look at submissions from our finalists.

In the patient categories, we’re focusing on who provided the best support and safety – and how.

These broad areas have brought us some fantastic examples of successful initiatives, stretching from long COVID support, virtual weight management and video messaging for paediatric units, through to mobile patient check-in, remote shielding services, a vision-based management platform and a patient safety learning hub.

Find out more about each of the submissions below. We hope you enjoy learning about them as much as we did.

Patient safety

We asked for submissions across healthcare that successfully contributed to or improved patient safety this year…

Online learning hub to help with engagement

Patient Safety Learning’s ‘the hub’ is an online platform and space for patient safety professionals, clinicians and patients to connect and share information on.

It enables shared learning about patient safety problems, experiences and solutions, through a combination of tools, stories, ideas and case studies.

According to Patient Safety Learning, the hub is now “becoming a nexus of networks who recognise the collaborative power'” that gives people “focused places to discuss patient safety issues” and allows them to “come together in a collaborative environment to build on improvements and adapt solutions for local implementation”.

In its first year, the company says its hub has reached nearly half a million people in 180 countries and boasts members from nearly 60 nations.

Vision-based patient management platform performs in Midlands

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust deployed Oxevision, a digital solution for safer mental health care, onto a 24-bed dementia service at Manor Hospital.

The contact-free, vision-based patient and management platform took part in the clinical study with the aim to improve safety, quality, and efficiency of care. It was also later rolled-out for a trial at an acute and psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU).

The results showed a ‘reduction in patient safety incidents’, ‘improved patient and staff experience’, and an ‘increase in efficiency across all care settings deployed’, according to Oxehealth.

Optical sensors, which include a camera and infrared illumination in a secure housing on the wall, monitor patients in their rooms. Clinicians can use the system through a monitor in nurses’ stations and through portable devices, with alerts received for high-risk activity. Staff also have the ability to take spot-check pulse and breathing rate observations and get reports on patient behaviour to support clinical decisions.

Patient check-in app eases Poole Hospital arrivals

Poole Hospital recently launched an app to supporting social distancing measures and infection prevention through mobile patient check-in.

Using the Intouch Mobile Appointment Manager app, visiting outpatients can now check-in using an app on their smartphone or tablet, as soon they arrive. There’s no need for patients to enter the building until their appointment is ready, which helps to reduce time spent in waiting rooms.

People can also choose where they check-in and where they wait within a short walking distance of the appointment area, such as their car, outdoor seating or the hospital’s coffee shop, until they are called via their app.

The tech can also free up staff admin time, with Michele Roberts, Outpatients Department General Manager at Poole Hospital, explaining: “Enabling patients to check-in on their mobiles also releases staff time to perform more qualitative interaction with patients, further improving the patient experience.”

Excellence in Supporting Patients

Take a look at our entries from those who went above and beyond to support patients during this difficult year…

Project CARe for those impacted by COVID-19

Project CARe (COVID-impact Assessment & REsponse project) was an initiative by Dr Olukayode Adeeko of Newton Medical Centre and GP placement students from the University of Liverpool.

It took place from December 2020 to February 2021 and had three aims: to identify patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 and who were deemed vulnerable by virtue of their age, health conditions or ethnicity; to offer support and practical help to those patients with ongoing post-COVID symptoms; to help those that might have been indirectly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.

The study focused on two groups. The first was vulnerable COVID-19 positive patients that either had long-term conditions, were over 65, had a condition from the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) family, or those whose first language wasn’t English. While the second group focused on those indirectly impacted by COVID-19, including asylum seekers and refugees, homeless and NFAs (No Fixed Abode), as well as ‘blind spot’ groups.

The project assessed these cohorts of patients virtually, after their COVID-19 diagnosis, to support their needs and provide practical help when required. Long or post-COVID symptoms were also recorded, with the study finding that a “significant proportion of the elderly people and those with pre-existing chronic conditions do require additional support”. The project recommended a needs assessment for that group, as “proactive care, early interventions and supports helped in improving post-COVID symptoms in many instances.”

Nutrition and dietetics group goes online

Whittington Health NHS Trust turned to a digital solution when its Nutrition and Dietetics Weight Management Group consultations looked as though they would have to be put on pause during the pandemic.

The trust quickly embraced the option of virtual group sessions via Microsoft Teams, back in spring 2020. This meant backlogged referrals could be cleared, clinicians freed up time and there were also shorter waiting times, as well as crucial continued support for patients and safe virtual social contact.

According to the team, participation and patient feedback were incorporated, so that each consultation was ‘patient-centred and tailored to their specific needs’. Whittington Health’s nutrition and dietetics team has since been sharing learnings from those sessions across the trust, to directly support virtual group consultations in other services.

Remote shielding service for high-risk patients

Protecting the most vulnerable patients has also been a key part of the pandemic response. In an example of NHS-SME collaboration, Health Navigator (HN) worked closely with East-Kent and South-West Staffordshire CCGs to rapidly develop a remote service for patients that had been told to shield.

The result was the development of the Remote High-Risk Patient Service within eight weeks. Specifically, it supported 1,132 shielding patients in their homes, in that important period from May to September 2020.

The service recruited patients through GP referrals and triaged them into different tiers for monitoring and support, with the aims to avoid unnecessary travel, keep patients safely at home with the correct care, and to relieve pressure on primary and secondary healthcare.

Secure Video Messaging tackling separation anxiety

vCreate, an NHS trusted Secure Video Messaging technology, was originally developed to help minimise separation anxiety in parents and the families of children in neonatal and paediatric units.

It allows nursing staff to record and share short video clips and photos with parents, who access these when they are away from the unit – which has proven to be particularly important during the pandemic, when there have been visitor restrictions.

Using cot-side QR codes to ensure the correct videos are sent to the right families, the tech is available on any device and clips can have special effects and captions added for special occasions. Videos are stored via a cloud on the vCreate platform, and not on devices, but parents can still share videos with members of their family for 24 hours at a time.

According to vCreate, the platform is now being used in over 140 hospitals in the UK, as well as across a handful in southern Ireland, Paris and Melbourne. Since its launch three years ago, it’s estimated 13,000 families have benefitted from the service with over 60,000 videos and 73,000 photos shared.

To see the winners of all our categories, follow our digital awards evening from 7pm on 1 April, via Twitter @leading1health.