How we are creating ‘digital exemplar practices’

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Case Study Summary
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Overview summary:
A new programme in the West Midlands region aims to recognise and support general practices that deliver technology enabled care services (TECS) as their usual care, to ensure that their patients are empowered by their effective delivery. These local networks of digital exemplar practices are expected to lead the way in their STP to accelerate the adoption of TECS at scale, focused on long term condition pathways and the prevention of deterioration of health conditions.
Challenge identified and actions taken :
Challenges: Currently across the NHS there is an ad hoc approach to digital delivery of care, an over focus on technology rather than its clinical application, an inadequate investment in digital skills/training of the NHS workforce, with solutions that place greater pressure on clinicians rather than enhancing productivity and quality of care.

Action: Development of a digital exemplar programme for general practices based on 7 key ‘C’ principles, with resources/training.

1. Competence. Practices’/patients’ ability to use/implement TECS.

2. Capability. Practices/patients need to adopt best practice using TECS and act on advice/information.

3. Capacity. Staff need time/confidence to innovate.

4. Confidence. Practices need to be confident of infrastructure. Patients need confidence that technology is integral part of clinical best practice.

5. Creativity. Staff using technology need to identify new opportunities.

6. Communication. Sharing of documents & communication between team members/settings caring for same patient.

7. Continuity. TECS not a quick fix, sharing knowledge/skills is key so that all across general practice teams and interactions with clinicians in other settings are synchronised across long-term condition networks.
Impacts / outcomes:
Each of the 12 general practices on our exemplar programme is being supported in planning their use of digital technology with clear metrics in place to help them judge the value of their implementation plan. The programme will also help practice teams to understand the time and investment needed to undertake a new digital approach properly and the outcomes that can be achieved or strived for.

Development of a network of digital practices.

Our learning website, video tutorials, online toolkits and action learning sets are being offered across the region and are already oversubscribed. Practices that are willing to innovate want some recognition for what they are doing and the digital quality mark that we have developed will do just that.
Supporting quote for the innovation from key stakeholders:
The Programme’s aim is to upskill and support practice teams to match our 7 C’s, which is crucial to wide scale adoption of Technology Enabled Care Services at the front line.

By being in the Digital Exemplar programme we hope to consolidate our IT innovations around best practice, improve patient care in a cost-effective manner. Also having the expertise of a AHSN led programme will have solid foundation for clinical governance, social marketing and ability to implement successful projects elsewhere across the STP and further.
Which local or national clinical or policy priorities does this innovation address:
Enhancing digital literacy, GP Forward View
Plans for the future:
We believe the West Midlands will become a rich environment for the tech sector to invest their time and ideas for delivery of care and at the same time help address some of the health challenges we face.

However, this is not a programme that is confined to the West Midlands. We’ve already discussed the approach with likeminded people in other regions as well as with NHS England so it is certainly something that can be replicated elsewhere.
Tips for adoption:
The patient lies at the heart of what we are doing and so long as practices are committed to achieving the 7 key ‘C’ principles, alongside the appropriate resources and training, we believe that there are few limitations as to what they can do to improve the use of a range of modes of digital delivery across primary care in their area.
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