Oxford Health named as Global Digital Exemplar

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is to spearhead the development of digital technology in mental healthcare nationally, thanks to £5m funding.

Oxford Health named as Global Digital Exemplar

The trust is one of just seven NHS trusts delivering mental healthcare nationally to be named as a Global Digital Exemplar for its innovative use of technology to care for people who use mental health services.

Named as one of the most advanced IT trusts in the NHS the trust has been recognised as a national leader in the use of innovative digital technology to care for patients.

The Mental Health Global Digital Exemplars, are set to be announced by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens today, will share learning and practice locally, nationally and internationally.

Celebrating success

It comes as Oxford Health also celebrates the launch today of the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in partnership with the University of Oxford at its Warneford Hospital site.

The BRC aims to bring the best science to the complex problems of mental disorder and dementia, for the benefit of patients, including innovative use of digital platforms and technology.

The trust is already paving the way in the use of digital technology in the NHS, embracing digital health on a daily basis to support patient care. This includes:

  • offering patients remote consultations using video conferencing facilities such as Skype and FaceTime
  • electronic patient notes available via iPad from anywhere at any time
  • signposting to online wellbeing and mental health therapies
  • and using and recommending apps such as True Colours to support patients’ self-management and recovery.

People with mental ill health are three times more likely to end up in A&E than the general population and five times more likely to be admitted to general hospital wards in an emergency.

Technological innovation

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust consultant psychiatrists already use video conferencing to support patients in their home and at the Horton Hospital in Banbury to see patients more quickly – with 90 per cent of patients feeding back that they found the process excellent.

Clinicians can already access the trust’s electronic health records system from anywhere using one of more than 3,000 iPads.

That gives them immediate access to the most recent, relevant information when making decisions about patient care and is something that NHS England wants to see rolled out across the country as part of its ‘paper-free at the point of care’ initiative.

Future forward

In the future the trust aims to continue to develop technology to improve patient care, access to information and find ways to cure and treat conditions and diseases. Developments in the use of digital technology include:

  • Patients, families and their loved ones will be able to remotely access their personal health record to review their care plans, progress and research preferences.
  • The most up to date electronic patient notes will be available to clinicians across the NHS trust and partner organisations.
  • More people will be offered physical and virtual treatments in their own home with virtual treatments available via online therapeutic resources validated by formal research studies.
  • In partnership with the University of Oxford the trust will develop a platform for online therapeutic interventions which patients will be able to access from anywhere via their own devices.

Chief Executive of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Stuart Bell said:

“Our vision is to use digital technology to transform the experience of patients through a progressive reshaping of mental health and community services fit for 21st century challenges.

“As a Global Digital Exemplar the trust will be further develop our culture of ‘digital by default’ where staff are fully assisted, trained and are confident to use the most appropriate devices and systems and software.

“We are already leading the way with digital health innovation and as a Global Digital Exemplar we’re looking forward to developing the ways we can use technology and to share our learning locally, nationally and internationally to improve patients’ experience and care even further.”

‘Global Digital Exemplars for Mental Health’

These organisations are amongst the most advanced IT hospitals in the NHS and have committed to work to become world class exemplars for the rest of the NHS to learn from.

They will exploit the potential of digital technology to ensure care is more personalised and responsive to patient need, by providing seamless integration across the entire local health and care community.

For the first time, all those involved in a patient’s care will have access to real time records, which will transform the patient’s experience – from triage and initial assessment, through to admissions or referrals, as well as any transfer between services and follow up care.

The Exemplars will showcase the best ways of using remote, mobile and assistive technologies to empower patients and service users to manage their conditions and will enable family and carers to provide the best possible support.

Subject to HM Treasury capital approvals, successful ‘Global Digital Exemplars for Mental Health’ organisations will be:

  • Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
  • Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

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Published: 31 March 2017