It’s not too late – The Nursing Technology Fund remains open to NHS organisations for second round applications until 26th February 2014. Bids are invited for the purchase of innovative technologies to improve patient care by supporting nurses, midwives and care staff.
As reported on the NHS England website, the objective of the Fund is to ensure ‘staff have the right tools and information to do their jobs more effectively’ – a sentiment shared by DCC. Our approach is to champion healthcare best practice and in turn to deliver best of breed technology, enabling healthcare professionals to give optimum performance. If you haven’t already applied for The Nursing Technology Fund, read on to find out why you ought to and how DCC can help…
What sort of projects might you use the funding for?
We all know how important patient experience is. Patient experience features regularly in the news and is a key feature of the policy work undertaken by The King’s Fund. Healthcare professionals naturally want patients to have a positive experience whilst under their care, but patients must also be empowered to actively communicate any problems or dissatisfaction they may be experiencing.
DCC helped both the Royal College of Physicians and Picker Institute to collect patient experience data via tablet devices at patients’ bedsides and kiosks installed at easily accessible on-site locations. In-depth research enabled us to present a user interface with the appropriate colour schemes and text sizes for patients. The use of images – combined with the easy navigation and responsiveness of devices – made the process seamless and gave patients the best chance to understand questions and produce responses as accurately as possible.
Hospitals continue to be heavily scrutinised on performance criteria in a number of different areas, such as bed blocking, complaint handling and infection control. The measurement of performance needs to be easily implemented, and the resultant data must be presented in a manner that is easy to view, manage and most importantly to act upon.
Following DCC’s staff performance measurement successes at UK police constabularies, we have since been campaigning for the use of dynamic interactive dashboards within the healthcare sector. As such, DCC welcomed the news that the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) was to start using QlikView, a performance dashboard allowing users to see study metrics and resources in one central location. This is merely the tip of the iceberg, however, as the NIHR could use the dashboard as much more than an information portal. As the name suggests, dynamic interactive dashboards can be used to bring data to life and allows users to be reactive rather than merely passive. As the NHS enters a ‘paperlite’ phase – part of the transition from paper to digital – however, it is important that paper data should not be entirely disregarded at this stage in the process it still offers significant value.
With DCC’s help some of the UK’s top hospitals have started using the QlikView performance dashboard for estate management and facilities data. The dashboard allows trusts to compare like-for-like datasets for facilities of a similar size, with regard to the cost of items such as cleaning, food and bedding. In instances where a sizeable differentiation between two hospitals is identified, trusts can further question the reasons for this and understand how hospital ‘A’ is performing more efficiently than hospital ‘B.’ As a result, hospitals are able to make savings by sharing best practice tips in areas identified by the dashboard.
Infection control, PLACE scores, discharge rates and staff absenteeism can all utilise similar methodologies, so all aspects of the day-to-day operation of hospitals can benefit. Furthermore, placing these different data sets on a single dashboard can present unique patterns and information that simply is not visible across single static Excel spreadsheets. For example, excellent or poor standards of patient experience and PLACE scores may be influenced by infection control or staffing levels. The identification of such patterns provides hugely beneficial insights and can allow positive changes to be made as well as the sharing of best practice techniques.
Budgetary constraints have a huge impact on decision making within hospitals and trusts. More often than not, there simply aren’t sufficient funds available to provide ‘perfect’ solutions to problems – projects need to be approached realistically, delivered on time and within budget.
Small start-up service providers sometimes shy away from discussing money, putting off ‘pulling out the rate card’ for fear of losing a deal, while some larger organisations have been known to avoid discussing the total cost of a project because they’re eager to up-sell technologies which re not entirely suitable for the client’s needs. Both approaches are unhelpful and can prove excessively costly to clients.
By contrast, DCC takes the time to properly research each of our clients’ projects. We try to identify all underlying problems and ensure we fully understand the objectives and desired outcomes of our clients. Additionally, we are not affiliated with specific technology manufacturers, meaning we can advise clients without bias and draw from the full spectrum of providers available. In short, we are not limited to – nor biased towards – any particular technology and will offer a solution that best fits your needs. This way we can ensure that we charge a fair fee.
At DCC we’re familiar with the healthcare landscape and passionate about improving services within the healthcare sector through technology facilitation. To learn more about how to apply for funding click here, or alternatively contact us for assistance with your application.