Digital Matrons leading the way with Digital technologies

This week’s blog comes from Nikki McNulty and Candice McGrane, Digital Matrons at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW).

Nikki is a senior Midwife, of 15 years and was a Specialist Digital Midwife before her promotion. She was always keen to be involved in patient safety and innovation projects for improvements within the Maternity services.

Candice is a Nurse and has worked at UHCW since qualifying as a staff nurse in 2008, having worked across several specialities within medicine. Most recently becoming a Modern Matron within Diabetes, Endocrine and Dermatology in 2018. During COIVD Candice was re-deployed as she was required to shield and took up a post as a Clinical Implementation Manager (Nurse post) within ICT.

Together they provide Nursing and Midwifery leadership and engagement for Digital technology and services.

“Our role is to support the safe and efficient design, implementation, and use of digital solutions for Digital projects, to deliver improvements in the quality and outcomes of patient care.”

What do we do?

We work closely with others, including Digital lead AHP, Digital Midwives, Clinical Implementation Nurses and Digital Change Analysts and between us our knowledge and connections with colleagues across the Trust covers the majority of the organisation, and deputise for our Chief Information Nursing Officer, Karen Bond.

Collectively, we bridge the gap between the clinical groups and digital services, by providing expert clinical advice and guidance as well as working collaboratively with key stakeholders to ensure suitable clinical engagement is in the planning, development, delivery and evaluation of all Digital projects.

The focus is often on having the right technology; however, it is vital that people have the right skills. We need to build digital capabilities for our future workforce and strengthen the workforces’ digital literacy. We are fully committed to supporting colleagues through training, education and development and ensuring the learning styles are adapted and suitable for everyone. Staff maybe digitally literate in their own lives, but often less literate in the basic IT skills on healthcare systems.  We need to equip our workforce to use technologies with confidence, ability to interpret what the tools tell them, and know when to escalate. We are passionate about ensuring our staff are digitally literate and are feeling fully supported to use technology which in turn will support the delivery of high-quality care.

Our focus is always putting patients first. As part of this mission, we are hugely proud about our recent launch of implementing a Trust-wide EPR (Electronic Patient Record) Programme. EPR is one of the largest transformational programme the Trust has undertaken since University Hospital was built. We are very excited about this project and in the long run it will enhance our digital maturity as a Trust. EPR will enable the transformation of care and is set to vastly improve the experience of patients in Coventry and Warwickshire and our staff.

Why you should be interested in Digitisation.

Digitisation has the potential to transform the way our patients are cared for; the way patients engage with services and co-ordination of their care. But can also it can support patients to manage their own health. By responding to patient needs and delivering care in different ways, we can improve capacity for patients who need to be seen in a hospital. This will support backlogs, waiting lists and reducing the burden of travel for patients who will be able to access their care at home or community setting.

The pace in which technologies enters healthcare, especially since the global covid pandemic and the scale of change is unprecedented. Therefore, there is a need to monitor developments carefully and mitigate risks where they arise, which is part of our role.

Not only can it have such a huge impact for our patients but can significantly improve the working lives of our nurses, midwives and allied health professionals (AHPs) by reducing the burden of documentation, releasing time for us to deliver direct care to our patients under less stressful and time pressured circumstances, ultimately reducing errors and mistakes which in turn means less complaints and investigations. This will also benefit our workforce in having time to access education and professional development. The benefits to staff and patients are endless.

What’s next?

The guidance for nursing on ‘What Good Looks like’ publication released by NHS England [1] builds on the NHS Long Term Plan [2] and other publications around NHS digital transformation such as the Topol Review [3]. This guidance can help us strengthen our Digital agenda and give us the tools and pathway to ensure all our nurses, midwives and AHPs are digitally enabled professionals.

The NHS Long Term Plan [2] focuses on collaboration because some organisations have exhausted what can be achieved within its own boundaries. The challenge is now what can be developed collaboratively at system levels to drive population health. There is a network of 150 or more Digital Midwives supporting one another to drive Maternity Digital Transformation. We want to be part of this network and grow a network of Digital Matrons which can drive Nursing and AHP Digital transformation.

Are you a Digital Matron? get in touch with us: Nikki.McNulty@uhcw.uk and Candice.McGrane@uhcw.nhs.uk

  1. What Good Looks Like framework – What Good Looks Like – NHS Transformation Directorate (nhsx.nhs.uk)
  2. NHS Long Term Plan
  3. The Topol Review — NHS Health Education England (hee.nhs.uk)

Further reading

RCN – Every Nurse an E-Nursehttps://www.rcn.org.uk/-/media/royal-college-of-nursing/documents/publications/2018/may/pdf-007013.pdf?la=en

NHS England » Matron’s handbook

 

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