User-centered smart devices to improve safety and efficiency

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

An increasing number of medicines requiring specialist preparation, rising cancer rates, and the COVID-19 backlog has resulted in unprecedented strain on the units and workforce that are essential to the production of anti-cancer therapies.

Aseptic units frequently use paper- based manual processes or digital systems lacking integration with prescribing systems, introducing unnecessary risk and time- consuming processes. Changes can’t be actioned or communicated immediately, contributing to wastage, lost outpatient appointment slots, or unnecessary patient journeys if the product is unable to be released.

On release, items are not tracked to their destination so can be misplaced, potentially delaying time critical treatment. Lack of tracking also means time and temperature sensitive orders cannot be continuously monitored to provide quality assurance as standard. Ward staff are unable to access information on the status of expected outputs from the units, so issues are only identified when a product doesn’t arrive or arrives and is incorrect, preventing proactive resolution.

I would like to investigate the potential for digitisation of the aseptic units, creation of a closed loop system, inclusion of robotic process automation, and finally machine learning on the data generated to inform future developments or identify potential risks or anomalies. I believe there is great potential to increase patient safety, patient experience, staff wellbeing, quality of care, and efficiency.

This is a unique opportunity for high levels of stakeholder engagement in the co-design of the system, and to ensure provision of useful training resources to digitally upskill staff in line with framework provided by the Digital Capabilities of the Pharmacy Workforce guidance released by Health Education England.

As others across the NHS echo the challenges faced by our units, this project could assist them with development, implementation, validation, and on-going improvement of systems in this area. There is also the potential for standardisation and allocation of work across units.

My current role requires involvement in various aspects of digital transformation and improving adaptive capacity within my department. Through data analysis and visualisation I provide live, actionable, and interactive insights that contribute to informed resource allocation and efficient service design and development.

The role extends to the creation and implementation of applications and robotic process automation, as well as working closely with digital healthcare providers to deliver bespoke software solutions and integrate them with existing systems and processes. I also work closely with the clinical teams and assist in the management of our electronic prescribing and administration systems, as well as generating e- learning to improve digital literacy.

I am an associate member of the Faculty of Clinical Informatics, and a BOPA digital sub-committee member, having previously worked as a specialist cancer pharmacist.