Digital transformation has no doubt been on the to-do list for many healthcare providers for some time: back in 2015 the NHS aimed to be ‘paper free’ by 2020. That never happened. But the pandemic forced them to make it a priority. In fact, 93% of healthcare executives reported that their organisations were ‘innovating with an urgency’ in 2021, driving further investment into digital health systems. In conversation with an Arbolus user, Will Maunder-Taylor from Checkit, we learnt more about the revolutionary potential of digital transformation within hospitals.
A UK-based tech company, as part of their offering, Checkit provides software that digitalises all paper processes and business workflows through an Intelligent Care Platform. They work with over 80 NHS trusts and recently won Best Healthcare Software provider at the Building Better Healthcare Awards. Checkit use the Arbolus Platform to engage with Chief Nurses and hospital management to gain further insight into key pain points and opportunities within the world of healthcare operations.
Healthcare is far behind the digitalisation curve
If you think about the role of a nurse, aside from the obvious lifesaving work they do, includes monitoring patients and recording data to facilitate patient recovery. This involves reams of paperwork day-in, day-out, where the singular copies of patient information are easily lost. As a result, a vast amount of time is spent reviewing documents in search of the correct data. The manual effort required and time wasted seems archaic compared to other industries, where frontline workers are empowered through digital processes. As one Checkit employee has highlighted;
“Can you imagine an Amazon employee with a clipboard filling out forms to ensure deliveries are on time?”
By removing paper processes and implementing user-friendly technology, nurses and other healthcare professionals can spend more time doing what they signed up for: providing quality patient care.
QR codes: saving blood, time, and money
For blood to be deemed safe to transfuse, it must be accompanied by paperwork proving that it has been chilled appropriately and is not past its ‘sell by’ date. Lose that paperwork - lose the blood! As a result, a huge amount of donated blood is wasted each year due to the reliance upon paper processes.
“What we hear constantly from blood teams is how they would like to protect the ‘donor’s gift’ and more importantly, patient outcomes, particularly with O negative or rarer bloods. Our intelligent operations software leverages a QR code to create a digital task flow for porters, scientists and Phlebotomists to remove paper and automatically capture the due diligence”
A similar issue arises with the loss or misplacement of paperwork for biopsies, blood tests, and drug tests. Will explained how the cost of re-performing a biopsy is around £10,000. As a result, the NHS could be losing millions annually across the UK's 223 NHS Trusts due to inefficient, paper-based workflows. By digitalising the process, you can easily track the movement of these tests and ease staff workload. The savings on staff time and taxpayers’ money could be huge, along with the emotional toll on patients when a potentially life-changing biopsy is lost.
But what is it going to take to train a 1.5 million workforce?
As the biggest employer in the world, the NHS faces a significant challenge in training its army of healthcare staff. Yet Will said, “from the nurses with 30-40 years of experience behind them to the Gen-Z’s, we have seen a really rapid uptake of the technology.” Having recently trained 7500 staff through a remote 30-minute video, Checkit is already playing a big part in this drive. According to Will, the biggest challenge will be enforcing “behavioural changes to make sure staff don’t revert to old processes”.
At a time when the NHS is critically understaffed, improving job satisfaction and reducing pressure on workers is crucial. By moving away from manual, inefficient processes that can be automated at little cost, staff are not only more efficient but are able to provide quality care. The adoption of Intelligent Operations software will have a monumental impact on healthcare systems globally: saving money, time, and fundamentally, lives.