Calling time on the swivel chair: new stroke guidelines create opportunity for a digital reset

Calling time on the swivel chair: new stroke guidelines create opportunity for a digital reset

If the NHS uses stroke care guideline changes to introduce agile new systems, clinicians and their patients will see the benefits of more streamlined care delivery, and ICBs will be better able to meet new SSNAP data collection requirements. Capture Stroke CCO Oliver Wylie suggests a new approach to procurement could be a game changer across the board.

When new NICE guidelines for stroke care come in this July, they will bring significant changes to the range and categorisation of data that has to be captured and recorded for SSNAP. These changes reflect the partial shift in stroke care from acute settings to the community, and they will see the current core dataset split into three new datasets: inpatient, community, and six-month follow up teams.

As therapists move away from specialty-focused therapy to activity-focused acute and post-acute therapies, they will need IT systems that augment their clinical practices and help them to adapt quickly to the major changes in patient flow and appointment times introduced by the new guidelines. For their part, ISDNs and ICBs will depend on the knowledge generated by these systems to allocate resources more efficiently and economically.

It’s a situation that will be familiar to clinicians and healthcare practitioners across the NHS, for whom changes in care models and service provision often signal the arrival of new technologies. But how effective will they find these technologies when they land?

However excellent they might be in their own right, if these tools are simply crow-barred into pre-existing digital landscapes, already a mixture of heritage and new systems that are sometimes integrated, prospects for effective implementation can be limited. Minds and technologies collide.

Experience tells us that clinical users often don’t have enough time to learn new processes OR how to use new systems to support them. In addition to the time pressures, there are new methods of recording data. The benefits of investment in digital health technology could be better realised with the recognition at procurement stage that substantial changes in care pathways create new, unmet needs. Such procurement processes are becoming a reality, moving away from Price Based Procurement to the adoption of models such as Value Based Procurement within NHS Supply Chain (REF)[PF1] .

Those needs are best met by new systems, designed with input from clinical users, which can be rapidly implemented without disrupting services, interact seamlessly with EPR, and provide the different elements required for a system to enhance incoming changes to clinical practice.

Challenge and opportunity

In this respect, moments of change for the NHS such as the introduction of new care guidelines represent both a challenge and a major opportunity for ICBs and hospital trusts to rethink their approach to procurement.

If the goal is ultimately to invest in technology that advances rather than hinders clinicians in their care provision, and improves patient safety as a result, it requires a commitment to ending ‘swivel chair’ solutions – systems that add yet another screen to the clinician’s console.

This is why platforms such as Capture Stroke are such a good fit with the needs created by the succession of changes to care pathways. It arrives with the capability of doing bulk data uploads, for example, ready to meet the requirements of the new SSNAP datasets. It has been designed with comprehensive user input, reflected in an intuitive interface.

The system is built to provide additional benefits, provide more information about alerts guideline breaches, and is focused on enabling users to deliver care and therapy in a timely manner throughout the pathway. It has a small digital footprint, can be implemented remotely, and will slot into existing infrastructure seamlessly.

These systems are already designed to absorb the waves of change and address the additional needs that arise from new and revised care pathways. They can offer more rapid and affordable benefits, that can be introduced without consuming high-value clinical time and cover the financial, digital and clinical bases of modern healthcare delivery.

Such a shift towards Value-Based Procurement in stroke care could be a model that is reproduceable across the NHS – potentially negating the need for pilot projects and lengthy assessment processes. And it could finally consign the stroke clinician’s ‘swivel chair’ to history.

Author Oliver Wylie

Title Chief Commercial Officer

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