Johanna Kelly

Lead Digital Nurse

Brighton and Sussex University Trust

Bio: Johanna is the Lead Digital Nurse for Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust. This role has been developed after leading a small team of nurses in the deployment of electronic observations within the Trust. She is responsible for championing digital technology as an intrinsic part of daily clinician activities and promoting the benefits of digital information and systems. Johanna provides leadership and support of the clinical informatics, strategy, development and implementation. The effective use of information and digital technologies is a key enabler in improving healthcare and developing the digital capabilities in nurses and midwives and has shown a challenging yet hugely beneficial transformation for the Trust.

This new lead digital nurse position will provide a crucial role in bridging the gap between IT professionals, clinicians and hospital management, ensuring that new technologies meet the needs of nurses and midwives, and clinicians in practice on the ward. 

Project summary: The Trust seeks to procure a secure messaging and communications application that will support patient context messaging, task management, handover, alerts and referrals. Their vision is that the system will be used across the Trust which will help reduce handover time between clinicians, reductions in unstructured and unrecorded patient information, and improved patient flow with the use of customisable patient lists.

The Trust currently uses a traditional radio bleep system that only offers a one-way form of communication. The recipient is unaware who is contacting them, the reasons why, or the level of urgency. There is currently no automatic alerting system in place, therefore staff are required to move away from the patient’s bedside and use a vacant telephone to escalate concerns.

Currently assignment of clinical tasks is reliant on a variable mixture of paper handovers, pager bleeps and time-wasting phone calls. Communication is open looped and inconsistent often resulting in inefficient and uneven workflow with no additional hospital at night system to support.

Effective communication between healthcare professionals is vital for efficient and safe patient care. NHS healthcare professionals work under a multitude of pressures and the inability to communicate effectively is a burden that should not be faced in modern times.

Estimated number of patients / staff impacted by the project: Scope is large, includes Western Sussex and Brighton and Sussex University Trusts, five hospitals and 2000 beds. 

Goal(s) for the programme: Replacement of current bleep system, a move away from a reliance on dated communications tools. Provide a wireless system of task management to help empower co-ordinated teams to manage clinical resources optimally to enable teams to work in agile and responsive ways and provide operational benefits such as cost savings from workflow efficiencies.

To include benefits:
• Concise, standardised, instant clinical task communication to save time and ultimately improve patient safety
• Transparency of workload and clinician/task status to improve prioritisation and distribution of work
• Direct link from current electronic observations system to alert Clinicians to deteriorating patients early to improve response time so that clinical teams can respond in a timely manner, thus preventing harm
• Clear audit trial and comprehensive data access to improve transparency and patient care.
• Information relayed between staff in any location, at any time thereby improving emergency reactions and patient-centric care
• Coordination of patient care with care teams within and beyond the Trust to promote seamless transitions, and reduced ‘falling between the gaps .