First Community Health and Care’s nurse led programme of digital transformation has ensured significant improvements to ways of working for their 100-strong remote working team.
District nursing clinical team leads Lauren Boyle and Danielle Hopkins have been the driving force behind rolling out EMIS Mobile at their organisation in Surrey. Armed with hands-on experience in the field, along with Danielle’s six month secondment to IT, the team of two began their research to take their district nursing teams on a digital journey.
Clinically led transformation
“We realised we needed to have our basics right first” said Lauren. In preparation for the transition, the team first made significant efforts to reduce paper usage and maximise EMIS Web across their workforce. Lauren and Danielle researched various mobile devices to find the most appropriate tool, and talked to other organisations who had implemented EMIS Mobile to learn from their experiences.
But critical to the success of this project for First Community Health and Care was developing an interface that truly worked for those who used it; their team of clinicians.
In the next phase of development, the project leads created two core templates; one for District Nurse visits, and the other for District Nurse assessments. Using these two master templates, the team then layered in tabs, menu options and colour coding to create a unique, user-friendly system that could be easily navigated by their colleagues. As Danielle explained, “Our templates have a lot of data. Basically every single thing possible that we could do with a patient is in the template in some form or another. Even something really simple like cleaning a wound is a tick box.”
With all the essentials now in place, the team were able to roll out training in stages across five networks of their workforce. By ensuring temporary staff were also given the same level of training, they could be confident that they were providing the resources to ensure a consistent standard of care. The significant work this team had done to digitally enable their colleagues did not go unnoticed, and Lauren and Danielle were recognised as Leaders of the Year at their annual staff awards.
Transforming the patient experience
Going live in January 2020, First Community Health and Care now have around 100 staff using EMIS Mobile on a daily basis. They’re already seeing huge benefits to agile working, contrary to some initial concerns about the reaction of patients.
EMIS Mobile has enabled these clinicians to focus more time on their patients, and the true magnitude of this time saving is staggering. In an audit conducted before the rollout of EMIS Mobile, the team gathered data from clinicians on time spent documenting patient notes, and discovered some were spending upwards of 2.5 hours a day on these tasks - the equivalent of 4 or 5 patient visits. After just a few months, the latest audit is showing that time spent on admin tasks and documenting for clinical teams has more than halved.
As for the nursing team, they’re loving the clear and easy to use interface, and have noted that the system is also enhancing clinical safety by prompting them to complete assessments and information. The ease with which clinicians can complete patient contact information in EMIS Mobile has significantly improved data quality, with the organisation now reporting 1500 more patient contacts per month.
Moving from paper to digital has not only ensured time saving for the clinical team, but has vastly reduced clinical risk by eliminating ‘double documenting’. As Lauren explained, “Obviously, there’s potential that typing up notes later in the day after you’ve visited a patient can mean that you’re not getting it word for word. But inputting notes straight into EMIS Mobile within the patient’s home means you can be confident you’ve recorded all the right information”. With EMIS Mobile, clinicians are able to access and update information in real time and provide live data across healthcare settings.
The ability to provide enhanced support from patients’ homes without delay has also been hugely empowering for patients and their families. Lauren recalls what a “huge thing” it is for patients and their families to feel confident that actions have been taken, because they’ve seen them being completed first hand.
Making a difference to staff wellbeing
Employing digital technologies can not only enhance the experience for patients, it can transform lives for clinicians too.
At a time where NHS staff retention presents an ongoing challenge, EMIS Mobile is supporting clinicians to efficiently complete their workload and finish shifts on time. “It saves our junior staff members a lot of time on patient notes, and in terms of our managers of the team, it saves us so much time on the caseload, organising people’s workload” said Danielle. The improvement to work/life balance has had a noticeable effect on staff engagement and wellbeing at First Community, and the clinical team are revelling in the opportunity to inform the way digital solutions are used going forward.