Read the latest news and case studies about the digital programme in West Yorkshire and Harrogate and how digital is improving health and care in each of the five places we cover. If you'd like to read all the latest partnership updates see the news section and the innovation and improvement pages of this website. You may also be interested in finding out all the latest from the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts and the Yorkshire and Humber Care Record.
List of pages
The following case studies look at some of the digital initiatives and improvements across the partnership area:
- #DiabetesStories - featuring Elise Featherstone, Graduate Digital Project Manager (June 2021)
- Free app for new dads and fathers to be (March 2021)
- Digital tools helping access to health and care services (March 2021)
- Impressed with the speed and efficiency of GP Online (March 2021)
- GP Online is easy to use (February 2021)
- Delivering our Digital Health Hub through lockdown (December 2020)
- Leeds digital champions (December 2020)
- Digtial tools help more people access helath and care services (June 2020)
- How technology is helping to improve eye care (April 2019)
- Digital pathology (February 2019)
- Govroam (February 2019)
- Using artificial intelligence to help prevent suicide (February 2019)
- Yorkshire & Humber digital care record launched (September 2018)
- GP online services (September 2018)
4 March 2022
A successful funding bid to NHS England’s Digital First programme is being used to improve GP practice websites to make sure they are easy to use and accessible to all including those with a disability, impairment or sensory loss. Working with Iatro Partners each GP practice website across the region had a detailed web accessibility health check. Have a look at the Calder Community Practice website which is a great example of best practice.
Three year digital strategy to increase inclusion
20 January 2022
Senior Leaders have backed a new Partnership three-year digital strategy to help put communities in control of their own health and wellbeing via new technology. The strategy supports our ambitions for using digital tools to promote health and wellness, reduce inequalities and deliver safe, joined up high-quality care for all.
The Partnership worked collaboratively with health and social care partners across the area with input from communities to develop the strategy.
Inclusive digital transformation
Across the UK there are approximately 14.9 million people who are not able to easily access and use digital. These people are more likely to be in groups who most need health and care services. That means there is a high risk that the digital transformation of health and care services will deepen existing health inequalities.
In recognition of this challenge and by the invitation of Dawn Greaves, the Partnership’s Digital Programme Manager, Thrive by Design put forward a proposal to the Yorkshire and Humber Digital Board to carry out a discovery process to learn more about how to co-design inclusion into digital transformation across the region. In West Yorkshire we highlighted digital and access to data as a priority area. For more information see the case study on the Thrive by Design website.
Hayley's our winner
Digital Project Manager, Hayley Lockwood, beat off stiff competition in the NHS in the North Excellence in Supply Awards winning the NHS Champion in Support of Procurement category. The awards celebrate inspirational examples of businesses and the NHS working together to provide great patient care.
Hayley was praised for leading a joint procurement exercise and working with over 30 NHS organisations to extend two existing contracts for video consultation software across the North East and Yorkshire region. Now adapted as a model of best practice by NHS England (NHSEI), Hayley was singled out for her level headedness and for achieving high quality and value for money - resulting in better outcomes for patient care.
The awards were held virtually on 23 September so we made separate arrangements for Dawn Greaves, our Digital Programme Manager to hand Hayley her award.
Hayley who was over the moon to scoop first prize said:
“Improving and delivering the best possible patient service is at the heart of everything we do. I am honoured to have my work recognised as it means so much to me, and there are many others who deserve to share this award. Thank you to all my colleagues and those who helped to ensure video consultation was available to our NHS services.”
In different categories, Iatro Partners and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust/TytoCare™ were shortlisted for improving digital access to primary care and collaboration on the NHSx virtual wards and remote monitoring respectively.
For more information see the Innovation Agency news pages.
Patient and practice staff voices helping to shape the future of digital
44 GP practice staff filled in our recent survey to capture views on using online consultations. The survey questions focussed on functionality so that we could find out what is important to colleagues when commissioning a solution.
Although there were variations depending on the system being used some of the things practices said they liked about using online consultations included:
- Ability to deal with patients quickly rather than having to wait for a face-to face appointment
- Patients can fill in the online form whenever and wherever they like
- Easy to upload photos
- Simple, slick and easy to use
- Signpost patients to relevant advice so might not need a face-to-face appointment
- Documents arrive directly into the clinical system saving admin time
- Asks relevant questions
- Easy to send text messages
Some of the things that practices didn’t think were working so well included:
- Expectation that GP practices can respond straight away
- Lack of integration with other systems (this varied)
- Increased workload
- Questions not always relevant
- Red flags and redirects problems that are not urgent
- Patients not registered with the practice can fill in the form
- Patient can add more then one problem
- Potential for inappropriate use
Additionally around 60 primary and secondary colleagues joined workshops to look at what’s working well and what could improve. We are using the feedback as part of our commitment to make sure patient and practice staff voices are at the forefront of the upcoming online consultation procurement to help make sure we get it right for the future.
Here are the full results of the survey.
Improving digital solutions together
Our Digital Programme hosted two workshops in September to seek views from primary and secondary care colleagues on using remote video consultations with patients. We are using the feedback to develop a product specification so we can commission a future solution which best meets the needs of clinicians and patients. At the workshops we looked at what’s working well and what isn’t, as well as going through each step of everything that happens before, during and after a video consultation. There were some common themes to emerge from both workshops.
What’s working well?
- Less travel freeing up time for clinicians and patients
- Positive patient feedback and choice
- Can host and attend bigger virtual events
- Enhances telephone conversations as can see facial expressions
- Agile working
What’s not working so well?
- Connectivity problems
- Not for all patients
- Can’t see patients and share screen
- Admin resource to set up
- Non-verbal body language lost
- Not a replacement for face-to-face or physical assessments
What’s needed for the future?
- Ability to split screen
- Robust training and support, perhaps with a help desk
- Quick to link and integrate with systems
- Potential for single solution, standardising delivery
- Virtual waiting room and estimated waiting time
- Live transcription and translation
Currently, we use several different systems across West Yorkshire, including: Attend Anywhere; AccuRx and MS Teams which were all rolled out rapidly in response to COVID. These current contracts will expire on 31 March 2022.
For more information see the slides and feedback used on the day:
Evaluating digital access to general practice
Around 60 primary care colleagues, including from GP practices, joined an online workshop on 23 June 2021 to share their experiences of using GP online consultation, video consultation and SMS text messaging.
There were presentations from members of the Digital Programme team including:
- The picture across West Yorkshire and Harrogate - Rich Stokes and Paul Morawski, Business Change Managers
- Digital engagement and inclusion - Elise Featherstone, Graduate Digital Project Manager
The group broke into smaller breakout sessions where colleagues provided helpful feedback about what was working well and what could improve. We will use the feedback to help inform our future strategy to make sure we are all getting the best out of digital systems in a way that delivers benefits for both patients and practices.
The event helped to get a better understanding of what support practices need from the Digital Programme to improve effectiveness and efficiency and provided an opportunity to share best practice. The information will also feed into the next round of procurement of these tools to ensure that we develop a service specification which will deliver the products of most benefit to primary care.
We are planning more engagement and audience insight activities with both staff and patients soon to help us work better together to get the best use out of each digital tool.
Masterclass in digital communities helps set the standard for modern health and care services
The Digital Programme hosted a second packed online masterclass on 10 May, this time focussing on digital communities. Over 60 colleagues joined the event to find out more about the journey to digitise our community services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
Here's a breakdown of the event together with links to the presentations, where these are available:
- Digital community innovations happening nationally - Jane Sproat, Assistant Director, Digital Community Health Services
- The picture across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and an overview of our current schemes – Petra Bryan, Assistant Director Transformation, Locala
- Digital community and links to Ageing Well, Ashley Moore, Programme Director – Ageing Well, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
- Digital innovations in communities - Helen Hoyland, Programme Lead, Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN)
There were smaller breakout sessions where people could share their ambitions around shaping the future strategy to empower more people to take control of their own health and care, enable transformational change and continually improve services. Themes included:
- Streamlining patient access to multiple digital care pathways
- Staff digital literacy, training and needs
- Digital inclusion and accessibility
- Sustaining initiatives and combatting health inequalities
- Prevention and the patient journey
- Addressing the challenges of integrating health and social and using digital as an enabler
The event attracted lots of positive feedback with people saying they felt: “energised,” “engaged,” and “informed” and that it had helped to generate some great ideas and build connections to progress the journey to digitise our community services.
Digital First in Primary Care
The Digital Programme hosted a packed online masterclass in digital primary care on 6 May. Over 60 colleagues joined the event to hear from a range of national and local speakers, including from NHS England, Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network and digital clinical leads.
Here's a breakdown of the event together with links to the presentations, where these are available.
- National overview of the Digital First Primary Care agenda, Minal Bakhai, National DPC Clinical Lead for NHSE/I
- Local picture and strategy - Dr Alistair Walling Chief Clinical Information Officer, Leeds City and Leeds CCG Joint CCIO West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership GP Senior Partner Dawn Greaves, Digital Programme Manager
- Improving Communications Between GPs and Community Pharmacies in Doncaster - Gareth Dellenty, Managing Partner, Clarity Practice
- Assist, Simon Wilson; Jim Welford; Andy Heckman
- Cerner / SystmOne Shared Care Record - Dr Jim Welford, Associate Clinical Director GP IT & Assist Bradford District & Craven CCG GP Hospital Practitioner in Endoscopy
- Affinity Care TytoCare pilot and Home Visiting Hub model - Dr Sam Lyles, GP Partner, The Willows Medical Centre (part of Affinity Care)
- Digital innovations in primary care - Helen Hoyland, Programme Lead and Sophie Bates, Programme Manager, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN
There were place breakout sessions too with great participation from attendees and ambitions to enhance and improve the use of digital in primary care. Attendees discussed what initiatives we could adapt and scale at pace as well as looking at the digital future after COVID-19, funding proposals and delivering innovation and best practice.
Key themes to emerge included:
- Sustainability of initiatives
- Optimising current initiatives
- Making best use of the Yorkshire & Humber Care Record
- Pilot fatigue
- Developing an online platform to share digital initiatives across all partner organisation
- Digital inclusion
- Making best use of online and video consultation
We received great feedback with attendees describing the sessions as: “Informative, thought provoking and energising” with “lots to feedback.”
Websites across primary care: accessibility and compliance
A successful funding bid to NHS England’s Digital First programme has brought significant resources to primary care settings across West Yorkshire. The grant will be invested to improve GP practice websites to ensure they are accessible to all.
As more NHS services move online, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, providing consistent, user friendly and accessible websites for the public is vital. As website accessibility standards continue to develop and improve, websites must support equitable access to information and services for people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss.
To lead and progress this work across the West Yorkshire, colleagues across South and East Leeds General Practice Group are working with Iatro Partners, a leading GP website provider.
Working with Iatro Partners over the last month each GP practice website across the region has had a detailed web accessibility and report created to help practices. This has included giving a web accessibility health check and detailing specific changes required to meet legal requirements, (W3 (WCAG 2.1) and the Accessible Information Standard.
We will continue to update GP practices across West Yorkshire as the work develops and progress.
If you have any questions please contact Lee Johnson at Leeds South and East General Practice Group on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening up online opportunities for student success
Thanks to a Department for Education led initiative, Luminate Education Group has received over 2,000 Chromebooks to distribute to students who don’t have suitable technology for online learning.
The equipment is being delivered to disadvantaged students across the group’s member colleges. This includes learners across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, such as those studying at Leeds City and Keighley Colleges. The aim is to make sure everyone has the same starting point and equal access to online learning.
Dr Liz Mear, Managing Director for Leeds Academic Health Partnership and the Co-Opted Member to the Board of Governors for Leeds City College, said: “So many students have found it difficult to access the resources and facilities to enable them to progress in their studies because they don’t have the equipment they need.”
Liz, who is also the Senior Responsible Officer for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Digital Programme, added: “This new equipment means that students will no longer have to rely on devices that simply aren’t up to the job and will help smooth the way to success irrespective of where they live.”
Luminate Education Group is also providing additional devices and resources including WiFi dongles and free digital courses.
See the Luminate Education Group YouTube video to find out more.
Keeping care home residents connected
NHSX has teamed up with Jigsaw 24 to distribute and support care home residents in using iPad tablets. Not only will this initiative help residents stay connected to loved ones it also means staff can access healthcare information quickly and make virtual appointments.
Using the free iPads helps reduce the risk of infection from people going into homes whilst still providing a gateway to friends and family. On behalf of the resident, care home staff can reorder medications, update their GP record and access NHSmail – a secure NHS internal email service.
Each tablet is ready to use and comes with a range of support materials to help care home residents get the most out of their devices.
Booting out the bleepers
Two of our hospital trusts have successfully secured funding to support the roll out of clinical communication tools that will hopefully help to replace the traditional pager bleep systems.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust will use their £64,000 allocation to trial a clinical messaging and task allocation application. And Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who bid for £47,000, will adopt a secure messaging solution.
Dawn Greaves, the partnership’s Digital Programme Manager, said: “Making best use of modern communications will help colleagues connect quicker and more effectively.
“Reducing reliance on bleeps and replacing them with more up to date solutions means clinicians on call receive the most critical messages straight away so that patients receive the right care at the right time, ultimately improving healthcare and saving lives.”
NHSX launched its clinical communication framework to help NHS trusts procure communication services. The aim is to phase out outdated technology like pagers by the end of 2021 and accelerate the adoption of proven digital alternatives, such as mobile devices and apps.
Midwives and mums endorse a new digital maternity exemption service
It’s now quicker and easier for mums-to-be and new mums to get exemption certificates entitling them to free NHS prescriptions and dental treatment.
We’ve been piloting a service in Leeds where midwives register details online and pregnant women, or those who have recently given birth, receive an emailed exemption which they can access immediately.
Mubashir Farooq, Digital Project Manager, explains: “We wanted to improve the application process for both patients and healthcare professionals by removing unnecessary steps and cutting out postage costs – saving time and money.
“With the new maternity digital exemption service we can send certificates instantly by email meaning that busy mums have one less thing to think about. There are no forms to fill in and no need to deal with applications manually or to issue plastic cards – so we’re creating a more sustainable, digital service too.”
Across Leeds we receive over 500 online applications for maternity exemptions every month. There are around 22,000 midwives in the country. Just over a quarter of these - around 5,700 - currently use the service with more coming on board all the time. In the next phase we will continue to increase registrations for midwives and to automate the registration process for GPs.
Talking about the pilot one midwife said: “First time I’ve used this. It’s brilliant and I will be using it again. It’s much easier than paper form.” And the verdict from patients: “Within minutes of my appointment ending I received my exemption certificate to my email. A really brilliant service!”
The system is safe and secure. Healthcare professional use their NHS log in details so there’s no need to remember a separate username and password.