Technology innovation has transformed care in the pandemic and shift in culture is lasting legacy

Learning tech lessons from the first wave of COVID-19

older person in care home during COVID
17th December 2020 about a 2 minute read
The challenges brought about by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need to rethink the delivery of some health and social care services in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. Partners responded quickly to some of the most complex challenges ever faced by our health and care system, and in doing so created a number of exciting innovations and opportunities The Rapid Insights Report

A new research-led report highlights how digital innovation, reconfiguring services and building better partnerships enabled health and care services in parts of the North to continue with non-essential patient care during the first wave of the pandemic.

The Rapid Insights Report details how, once the scale of the challenge became clear, services turned to innovative ways of using digital communications platforms, adapting wards and deploying staff to the areas of greatest need.

The report is published by South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (SYB ICS) and the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (Yorkshire & Humber AHSN).

It makes a number of recommendations around the continued use of digital communication platforms, utilising seamless patient record systems and maintaining the enhanced workforce mobility achieved during the pandemic so far.

The report includes case studies from across Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups from SYB. These include:

  • introducing digital technology into care homes for consultations
  • improved patient-record sharing across regional partners to support vulnerable patient care
  • an effective triage system that helped signpost and reduce pressures on Accident and Emergency (A&E) wards.
“While technology and innovation have been key drivers in the transformation of services, these changes would have not been possible without a shift in culture and behaviours. It is a legacy that will remain even after the end of the pandemic.” Richard Stubbs, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN

Richard Stubbs, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said that it had been a difficult year and the pandemic continued to pose incredible challenges for everyone across the health and care system.

Accelerating innovation

“But the crisis has also accelerated the adoption of innovations and service transformations at a pace and scale never seen before. It has brought organisations together across the whole region from the NHS and social care to local authorities, voluntary and third sector organisations.

“The methodology developed for these rapid insights will be valuable in the future to help better understand what is needed to scale up and adopt innovations.”

Lisa Kell, Director Transformation at South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS, said: “Being able to capture the views of SYB’s wider workforce across the system during this period of rapid innovation and change has been absolutely crucial.

“This will support SYB’s health and care partners to consider how these adaptions can be taken forward in the future. Being able to share learning from our rapid insights research with the four North East and Yorkshire ICSs across this wider regional network has also been really valuable.”

Technology & What Has Worked Well: The rapid deployment of laptops and equipment across the region allowed teams to work from home wherever appropriate. The use of software such as Attend Anywhere, WhatsApp and accuRx, allowed for remote video consultations. This ensured continuity of care with anecdotal feedback suggesting that this was well-received by patients since it allowed for more flexibility and improved accessibility. The Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust reported a decline in Did Not Attend (DNA) rates from missed appointments as a result. Respondents called for the development of the Electronic Patient Record (EPR), as well as electronic prescribing and e-signatures. The Rapid Insights Report

A copy of the Rapid Insights report is available here