Game-changing technology tipping the balance for Hertfordshire healthcare
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a huge range of challenges at our health and social care services. The strain the NHS has been under has been well-publicised – they have been facing possibly the biggest health crisis of modern times, whilst also trying to keep other vital services running. Whilst most coverage has been on the struggles related to Covid-19, other significant issues have arisen.
The impact Covid-19 has had on physical and mental health reaches far beyond those directly affected by the virus itself. It has limited the resources available to those suffering with other conditions, as well as the clinically vulnerable. It has also had a massive impact on people’s confidence and comfort in seeking help and attending the most basic of physical and mental health checks.
In Autumn 2020, this was the challenge facing Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT). Not only were resources being drained by Covid-19 support but other service users were presenting significant deteriorations in physical and mental health. Urgent responses were increasing and service users simply weren’t receiving the necessary care due to pressures on the system. If significant action wasn’t taken then they would have another health crisis on their hands.
The Blue Box
HPFT had long held an ambition to use technology to aid early intervention and prevention. Their research led them to discover the Blue Box from Whzan Digital Health. Widely used in care homes across the country, the Blue Box has gained a reputation for not only assisting in health and social care circles – enabling highly accurate patient assessments, but also saving time and money in the process.
Totally portable and made up of a series of Bluetooth instruments and questionnaires linked to a tablet device, readings are automatically recorded onto patient files. The box is used to measure a variety of vital signs, including blood pressure, blood oxygen, nutrition and much more.
The portability of the Blue Box also addressed a further challenge that HPFT faced – getting people to physically visit a health centre for their vital checks. Having the flexibility to make remote assessments meant patients didn’t have to leave their own home to receive the monitoring they need.
Implementation & Integration
HPFT sought the help of AI Digital, who provide dedicated service transformation and project delivery to assist with the implementation programme across Hertfordshire. AI Digital delivered the project and change management together with enterprise architecture to design and define the data flows between systems.
Whilst there was the potential for the Blue Boxes to monitor thousands of residents, there was currently nothing in place to then transfer this data into the centralised PARIS patient record system being used by the trust. To do this manually would be a huge drain and time and resources – already at a premium.
The lack of this kind of integration with other systems is a source of frustration for many across the NHS. It was recognised that Whzan’s FHIR interface for system interoperability presented an opportunity as a catalyst for change.
Working with HPFT partners, AI Digital reached out to Enovacom, a medical interoperability leader, specialists in providing middleware to securely transfer data from one system to another. The Orange Business subsidiary is used to helping healthcare organisations with their digital transformation journey. So, not only was the solution Enovacom provided capable of automatically importing the Whzan Blue Box data into PARIS, it also transfers it in a format that future-proofs against any further developments in the future.
What Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have been left with is not only a game-changing way of carrying outpatient assessments remotely, but a one-of-its-kind funnel of data that will make them more efficient and enhance the care they provide.
Looking at the bigger picture, this will help reduce the demand for urgent care, pressure on A&E departments and unplanned GP visits, saving valuable time, resource & money.
This was only made possible through a combination of innovative medical technology, cutting-edge middleware and insightful project management – creating a unique three-way collaboration. Most importantly, none of it would have happened without HPFT’s open-minded, ambitious approach to resident care.
As Dr Rakesh Magon, Consultant Psychiatrist and Deputy Medical Director of HPFT summed up “It makes better use of our resources, enhances care and saves time. It is efficient, innovative and cost-effective whilst providing high-quality care which is more holistic and integrated. Looking at the bigger picture it will help reduce demand for urgent care, pressure on A&E departments and unplanned GP visits.”