Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (FT) is one of 12 trusts that has been named by Government as a Global Digital Exemplar in the NHS. The trust will receive up to £10 million of funding over the next two years to pioneer digital excellence and share best practice.
Recognised for its digital maturity and innovative digital health initiatives, the trust, which runs Musgrove Park Hospital, will be given the financial backing and support to fast track its plans to become world class in its digital deployments; using technology to help staff achieve higher efficiencies, enable better organisational workflows and deliver better patient care.
This includes ensuring that all systems across Somerset are interfaced, so that clinicians and healthcare professionals across the community have information and data at their fingertips. Patients will also be able to view and add to their patient record, seeing hospital test results, for example, at the touch of a button.
Dr Sam Barrell, chief executive at the trust, said: “We are thrilled to have been chosen, as it means we can really press ahead with bringing our NHS technology into the digital age.
“This work is ultimately about improving patient care and improving the patient experience, making healthcare as accessible as everything else that people do online in their everyday lives.”
Less than 12 months ago the trust deployed openMAXIMS, an open source electronic patient record (EPR) system in A&E, theatres, outpatients, and the hospital’s 30 wards. It was the trust’s first step in a much bigger programme to become paper-lite by 2018 and deliver a fully interoperable digital healthcare community in Somerset.
The functionally-rich technology provided by pioneering company IMS MAXIMS was chosen by Taunton and Somerset because it offered a flexible, cost effective alternative to proprietary software. The trust had access to £45 million worth of software development without the need for a license fee and it gave more control over how the system was deployed. The trust also recognised the future benefit to the NHS overall, from being able to develop, then share changes or improvements to the software with other NHS trusts, in turn taking advantage of economies of scale.
At the forefront of Taunton and Somerset’s digital roadmap in the next two years are open standards, shared pathways of care, reciprocal views and data sharing, ePrescribing, data analytics and the use of mobile devices and apps. This will ensure clinicians have real time access to accurate information wherever and whenever they need, and provides the tools to empower patients to take control over their healthcare.
Shane Tickell, chief executive of IMS MAXIMS, said: “We are absolutely delighted for Taunton and Somerset. This is a significant milestone for them and the NHS. Their visionary approach to digital transformation has proven the value of an open source hospital system in regards to delivering better people productivity, improved patient outcomes and financial sustainability. And the recognition from government sends a clear signal about the important role this approach has to play in enabling the NHS to become digitally world class.
“The financial investment provided by the Digital Exemplar Programme over the next two years will allow Taunton and Somerset to reach its optimum digital capabilities, including deploying exciting software advancements such as medicine management, and data sharing and analytics. It also puts them on course to deploy software that achieves the long-term goal of personalised medicine; predicting and preventing rather than reacting and treating patients.”