The team recently spent a busy and thought-provoking couple of days at the Digital Health Rewired 2022 event in London. We joined some fantastic talks and met with key figures from within the NHS and digital health industries.
We are thrilled that events like Rewired are able to take place again; not only do they give us the opportunity to meet with new and existing customers, but they offer a platform for discussions around upcoming themes and challenges within our industry.
We would like to share with you our K2 insights and takeaways from the event for what we think will be some key focuses for the remainder of 2022 and 2023+ within digital health and where we feel it ties in with maternity:
The advancements of technology and recent pandemic has seen a shift towards how care can be supported virtually. Virtual wards allow monitoring and admission to a healthcare setting, where location of admission would have no detrimental effect on outcome. This is a huge shift in the way that care is delivered, and it has the potential to improve outcomes for patients whilst maintaining maximum bed availability within hospitals.
A key benefit of virtual wards is a more personalised level of care, contributing toward consistency of the care delivered and improved continuity of carer. Traditionally, patients are seen by a variety of different clinicians, which can lead to a feeling of being disconnected from their care team. With virtual wards, each patient has their own dedicated carer/team with whom they can build a rapport; leading to patients feeling more valued and comfortable communicating with their care team, and in turn more likely to adhere to treatment plans.
Not only are virtual wards beneficial for hospitals, they have the potential to reduce costs incurred by service users. Providing care remotely can reduce the need for travel to hospital or clinics for appointments, saving both time and money, with the potential to positively influence mental wellbeing.
There are some challenges that need to be addressed before virtual wards can be fully implemented, such as ensuring that patients have suitable internet access and providing training for staff. However, the benefits of virtual wards could well outweigh the challenges and it is likely that we will see a rapid expansion of this model of care across many if not all care settings over the coming years.
We feel in the short-term virtual clinics are more appropriate and achievable within maternity services but are open to exploring all avenues alongside our customers and the NHS.
On the back of REWIRED, work is underway at K2 to look at where our products align with virtual wards, as well as how this could benefit maternity services. Asking questions such as:
- How could products like K2 Hampton (market-leading pregnancy specific remote monitoring) be improved/adapted to support such new ways of working?
- Where could a Maternity Information System (Such as K2MS Athena) incorporate Virtual Wards?
The Maternity Service is one area where person-centred care is already being put into practice, due to a number of reasons, but not least as a direct result of the Ockendon report. There are many reasons why this makes sense – for example the positive impact on the physical and mental health of both women and pregnant people, and babies. But it’s not just about the clinical outcomes: creating a more personalised experience makes people feel more valued and respected.
So, what is person-centred care? Put simply, it’s about providing care that is relevant to the individual circumstances and wishes of each person. This means considering aspects such as culture, religion, lifestyle, family situation. It also means involving them in decisions around their care and empowering them to make informed choices about the care they receive.
Key improvements such as listening to women and families, ensuring their voices are heard and providing informed consent are already being put in place throughout maternity services within the NHS, this has been achieved primarily through Personal Health Records. Involving women and pregnant people in decisions throughout their pregnancy journey, builds trust between them and their care provider(s). The feeling of being included and in control of your own care can contribute to reductions in anxiety and stress levels throughout pregnancy, helping to support better outcomes for both women and pregnant people, and babies.
Technology available today, can be leveraged to benefit clinical outcomes and inclusion of patients. One way we have addressed this need is a fully tethered, maternity specific, personal health record. We feel this is a requirement of any maternity information system and generic PHR’s are not specific enough to the maternity pathway, as such K2 MyPregnancyNotes is provided to all services using our K2 Athena product. MyPregnancyNotes is K2’s personal health record and when integrated with other hospital systems (radiology, pathology etc.) can eliminate all paper carried by women and pregnant people, throughout their entire pregnancy journey.
Remotely accessible to clinicians, from any location, and fully controlled by women and pregnant people, K2 Athena provides a complete and comprehensive set of online handheld maternity notes, helping maternity services using K2 products to provide care which is ‘Women centred, Clinically led, Digitally driven’.
One of the key themes to providing a better health service in a digital age is the ability to interoperate between systems; reducing the amount of siloed data provides a fuller picture to allow fully informed clinical decisions.
The transition between primary and secondary care, including referral processes, can often produce unnecessary friction where systems are not sharing data as well as they could. The unfortunate side effect of this is that patients’ experiences are affected, whereby both primary and secondary care providers are having to utilise multiple different systems to access information relevant to care. One such way we have seen this issue begin to be tackled is the introduction of shared care records; accumulating information from all areas of care and providing a means for all healthcare professionals to see the bigger picture surrounding a patients journey throughout the various healthcare services.
Within K2 we have integrated with shared care records such as the YHCR, contributing to the bigger picture of sharing data. We are also enthused to hear about the resumption of DCB3066 (Digital Maternity Record Standard), ensuring there is an interoperability standard specifically around Maternity to allow greater integration between systems by providing a more uniform structure around data capture and sharing. It has the potential to vastly improve the maternity landscape and we are excited to hopefully contribute towards the development of this standard.
The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving; being well-informed on new industry practices and challenges, and understanding the best way to support all patients is just one method that K2 are adopting in order to offer the most effective solutions to support the maternity industry.
If you’d like to find out more about K2 and what we can do to support you and your teams in providing the best maternity care, please get in touch.