Digital Innovations Theme Update


Research team:  Dr Jonathan Benn, Professor Owen Johnson, Dr Carolyn McCrorie,  Dr Ciaran McInerney

In the Digital Innovation theme, we are evaluating the impact of the Command Centre in Bradford Royal Infirmary on patient flow and patient safety. This research is funded through the NIHR HSDR funding stream. The Command Centre comprises clinical site teams and a Wall of Analytics – 8 tiles displaying real-time performance, operational and safety data. To date, we have developed an understanding of how the Command Centre supports operational planning through observing clinical site teams and interviewing key staff relative to the initiative. An additional qualitative Research Fellow has recently joined the team who will contribute to a review of command centres in other industries, e.g. aviation, nuclear, oil and gas. In our evaluative work, we have gained access to the hospital data as we partner with Connected Yorkshire to map the many datasets describing how the hospital runs. Our analysis plan will describe how measures of data quality, patient flow and patient safety have changed during the Command Centre’s implementation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other work, we are collaborating with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS England, DATA-CAN and OpenSAFELY. We are investigating the provision of timely and safe cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic and will describe the optimal interval between an indication of SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent cancer surgery. Our study will be one of the flagship projects adopted by OpenSAFELY – a revolutionary platform to facilitate research of NHS electronic health records using state-of-the-art protocols to ensure respect, privacy and security. We have secured sponsorship from NHS England, have co-produced a protocol with clinical and administrative collaborators, published a letter outlining the urgent need for robust guidance for policy makers, and are now awaiting institutional ethical approval to begin our study with a service evaluation of NHS England hospitals.

Lay Leader involvement in our theme

Our lay leader, Naeem Sheikh, has been integral to the Command Centre evaluation. As co-applicant, Naeem has b involved in the conception, drafting and delivery of the £456k project since the beginning. Naeem now leads the work-stream dedicated to patient and public involvement and engagement. Activities have included supporting a workshop to gather patient and public perspectives on the how Command Centres might be beneficial and how we might measure their performance. This workshop was delivered by another of the Centre’s lay leaders, Naveed Riaz, for which we are indebted and grateful.