18 July 2015
Thousands of people with mental health conditions are set to benefit from a technological revolution at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.
A £750,000 capital grant from the Nursing Technology Fund (NTF) will allow the Trust to buy state of the art technology such as i-pads, laptops and software which will give patients a speedier, more reliable service and allow them more time with their nurses and health care professionals. The grant is the largest allocation to any mental health trust in London.
More than 300 i-Pads and a huge range of supporting software will be funded by the grant allowing nurses and other professionals in the field to get instant access to their patients' records. Because nurses can also upload fresh data and share records with colleagues and other agencies, instead of returning to base, they will be able to give more face-to-face care to patients.
The grant is part of the second wave of cash from the fund which was set up by the Government in 2012 to help patients by providing better technology for nurses, midwives and health visitors. Recently the Government extended the type of organisations eligible for funds to include a wider range of health care providers, such as mental health trusts. Grant money is only allowed to be spent on specifically defined projects and must be allocated within the year of grant.
Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I) provides a wide range of mental health support services for people in London including crisis support, help with substance abuse and dementia related services, among other mental health needs. The trust's health care professionals support patients in hospital environments and in their own homes. Health provision in the trust is already in a period of rapid change with the introduction of a new electronic patient record system called Carenotes.
"This is a quantum leap forward for our service provision," said the trust's Associate Director of Information and Communications Technology, David Jackland. "This news could not have come at a better time for us as we prepare to go live with Carenotes on 7 September. This new technology will have an incredibly liberating effect on our staff and help us enormously in our work with partner agencies. This is nothing short of a revolution in our capabilities."
Staff across the trust put their heads together to make a watertight case for the grant money. "There was a lot of number crunching that had to be done including a value for money analysis and a financial analysis in order to meet the Department of Health's expectations," said David. "It was time consuming but we all knew how important it was that we got everything right. Fortunately everyone's hard work paid off and we are very grateful to everyone in the trust who worked on it."
The Nursing Technology Fund aims to let nurses get their hands on the latest breakthroughs in digital working that help their patients. These include providing access to the digital care records across the community and capturing clinical data at the point of care which can dramatically slash the amount of time that was spent on old-fashioned paper work. Trusts who already use this technology say that it has had a transformative effect on the patient care they can offer.
Claire Johnston, Director of Nursing and People and a major advocate and Champion for IT at C&I and its ability to improve patient care and delivery processes said: "This is fantastic news for nurses and patients because it gives such a great range of benefits for managing patient care. Our patients can now see a copy of their full care plan which we hope will be very reassuring for them. One of the questions nurses have been asking me most frequently is 'When are we going to go mobile?’ It's a real thrill to be able to tell them that that day is coming very soon!"
With this new award coinciding with a major change from one electronic patient record system to another (Rio to Carenotes), the Trust has digital and mobile working very high on its agenda for current and future care and efficiency improvements; there is eager anticipation from the nursing teams primed and keen to introduce these new tools in the field when engaging with service users. 300 new iPads will be rolled out across the community nursing teams in the next few weeks.
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1. Camden and Islington NHS FoundationTrust (C&I) submitted its bid for funds under the trust's 'Enabling Excellence through the eNurse project'. This is a collaborative project which focuses on making the trust's workforce more agile through the use of tablet devices and the iNurse application. This enables staff to monitor and manage patients' physical health. One of the key dimensions of the project is improving access and interoperability of health care records with the trust's primary care partners. Interoperable systems, especially computers or telecommunications are capable of working together without being specially configured to do so. This is a key element of successful multi-agency working.
2. The Nursing Technology Fund was announced by the Prime Minister in October 2012. It aims to support nurses, midwives and health visitors to make better use of digital technology in all care settings, in order to deliver safer, more effective and more efficient care. In the second round of funding, £35 million was awarded to be spent across the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years. A total of 276 applications were received in this round of funding and 62 organisations were successful.
Funding is available for projects that support: digitally-enabled observations management; mobile access to digital care records across the community; digital capture of clinical data at point-of-care: safer clinical interventions; real-time digital nursing dashboards; smart workforce deployment; remote face-to-face interaction; digital images for nursing care.
3. Carenotes is a new electronic patient record (EPR) system which will speed up services to patients and allow Camden and Islington Trust to manage its patient notes without relying on external companies. Records are backed up on servers in two different geographical locations ensuring that nurses and health care professionals can get access to patient notes 24 hours a day, ensuring they can always provide the correct treatment and support to patients who need urgent help/