Developing a better, digital consent process for patients and clinicians

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

Leeds Teaching Hospitals is one of the biggest NHS trusts in the country. It is progressing well with a paperless system using PPM+, our in-house developed EHR. One aspect that has not been fully digitalised yet is the Consent Process. The Coronavirus pandemic has meant our interactions with patients and teams have changed, with the first stage of consent sometimes being performed during virtual consultations and paper-based forms with physical signatures not fitting in with new ways of working.

Consent is a major part of the safety process and systems need to work seamlessly for the patient, the person consenting and performing the procedure, as well as the wider team. I plan to look at the entire consent process and not only digitise it, but make it function better for the patient and team.

This process will have legal and accessibility issues to overcome. The consent process needs to be available to all, regardless of their level of digital literacy. I will look at further strengthening the rigorous process of confirming consent pre-procedure and look at how digital consent interlinks with other safety systems such as the WHO checklist.

Having PPM+ developed in-house will allow me to work closely with the development team, producing a bespoke system to achieve these aims.

I am a Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist at Leeds Children’s Hospital. I am the Digital Lead for Children’s Anaesthesia and have a passion for digital safety and how digital systems can be integrated into safe team working. I have previously worked as a Neonatal and Paediatric Transport Consultant with Embrace, the Yorkshire and Humber Transport Service.

Throughout my career, I have developed digital systems that have focused on safety. I have developed these around the clinical requirements but with a focus around the human interface design, something that seems to be a low priority in medical equipment and digital technology.

I am also the clinical lead for our Sustainable Theatres Programme. We aim to become the most sustainable theatre complex in the UK. With planning, digital innovation can improve our carbon footprint and I hope to work closely with NHS Digital to do this.