Now more than ever, the National Health Service (“NHS”, the UK’s publicly funded health system) looks to tackle patient flow challenges by focusing on identifying and implementing solutions and best practices that enable timely access to care.
In fact, the topic is becoming such a priority that Lord Carter of Coles, a member of British Parliament, recently spearheaded a study on the NHS, and on how data is helping to improve patient care. The Lord Carter report specifically references the SafeHands program at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. The SafeHands program was recognized for its use of RTLS technology to track patients, staff and equipment, and to monitor caregiver and patient interactions in real-time.
[Interested in learning more about The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and their SafeHands program? Click here to download their case study.]
In order to support the success of other trusts, the Lord Carter report offers key takeaways to improve efficiency and quality of care across the NHS, summarized below:
- Set a timetable for simplifying system structure by increasing people management capacity and building greater engagement. These changes create an engaged and inclusive environment for all colleagues.
- Develop and implement measures for analyzing worker deployment, including metrics such as Care Hours Per Patient Day (CHPPD) and consultant job planning analysis. This helps ensure that the right teams are in the right place at the right time, and collaborating to deliver high quality, efficient patient care.
- Trusts should ensure that their pathology and imaging departments achieve their benchmarks, so that there is a consistent approach to the quality and cost of diagnostic services across the NHS.
- Trusts should report their procurement information monthly to NHS Improvement to create an NHS Purchasing Price Index—this would facilitate an increase in transparency and a reduction of at least 10% in the non-pay costs delivered across the NHS by April 2018.
- Trusts should operate at or above the benchmarks agreed by NHS Improvement for the operational management of their estates and facilities. All trusts (where appropriate) should have a plan to operate with a maximum of 35% of non-clinical space and 2.5% of unoccupied or under-used space by April 2017. They should deliver this benchmark by April 2020, so that estates and facilities resources are used in a cost effective manner.
- All trusts should have the key digital information systems in place, fully integrated and utilized by October 2018.
- The Department of Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement should work with local government representatives to provide a strategy for trusts to ensure that patient care is focused on how patients can leave acute hospitals beds, or transfer to a suitable step down facility, as soon as their clinical needs allow so they are cared for in the appropriate setting.
- NHS England and NHS Improvement should work with trust boards to identify where there are quality and efficiency opportunities for better collaboration and coordination of their clinical services across their local health economies.
- NHS Improvement should, in partnership with CQC and NHS England, develop an integrated performance framework to ensure there is one set of metrics and a consistent approach to reporting. This way the focus of the NHS is on improvement and the reporting burden is reduced, allowing trusts to focus on quality and efficiency.
- The national bodies should engage with trusts to develop their timetable of efficiency and productivity improvements up until 2020-21, and overlay a benefits realization system to track the delivery of savings, so that there is a shared understanding of what needs to be achieved.
The Lord Carter report was featured at the NHS Conference for Building Sustainable Healthcare, hosted by The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. This event was a forum for experts to gather and share best practices on how real-time data analysis is helping hospitals improve operations surrounding patient flow and access to care. It’s exciting to think of the value TeleTracking can bring to other trusts across the UK who have yet to address patient access and flow.
To download the Lord Carter report, “Operational Productivity and Performance in English NHS Acute Hospitals,” click here. And for additional information about TeleTracking’s solutions, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.