The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has been awarded £5m to drive digital transformation projects to further improve the safety and quality of the care which staff are able to provide to patients.
EEAST, which provides NHS ambulance services in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk - is one of 24 trusts and the only ambulance service to be named as a pilot site for the new digital aspirant programme, run by NHSX.
EEAST’s funding will be awarded over the next two years. It will be used to help the Trust move towards its goal of becoming paperless by 2023/24 by modernising technology and speeding up a range of digital projects already taking place.
- Replacing the Trust’s network with a modern Health and Social Care Network, which will give care homes and all NHS organisations – including GP surgeries, acute hospitals and community services – the chance to exchange electronic information reliably and efficiently. This will reduce duplication and improve the experience which patients have when receiving care as they will only need to tell their story once.
- Replacing the Trust’s dated electronic patient care record system with a modern, flexible and fully integrated system which will allow staff to share information easily and securely with healthcare partners. The technology will reduce the handover time at hospital emergency departments by around five minutes. As EEAST currently hands over 750,000 patients each year, this will free up an estimated 1,680 days, in turn helping crews to get back on the road more quickly.
- Providing 3,500 frontline staff with iPads so they can complete mandatory training and access clinical information and any other resources they may need while they are out on the road. By 2021, staff will also be able to view electronic patient records on the devices, giving them a full patient history and information about test results and medications, which will allow them to provide more tailored care.
- Replacing the Trust’s existing telephone system with an internet-based system which will be faster, more reliable, have greater resilience and provide better value for money.
- Introducing a ‘cloud-first’ environment, including Office365 for all staff.
Stephen Bromhall, chief information officer with EEAST, said: “We are delighted to named as a pilot site for the digital aspirant programme.
"It gives us a real opportunity to lead the way as the NHS moves towards the government’s aim of becoming paperless within the coming years by making better use of technology.
"The funding will help us accelerate several exciting projects which will benefit our patients and crews by allowing them to share information with other NHS organisations easily and securely.
"Not only will this improve efficiency, but also help us shave valuable minutes off hospital handover times.
“We will be sharing our learning and best practice with others from across the country as our initiatives progress so that they can begin their own projects to benefit patients.”