Hospital trust shares digital innovations with Finnish business and government reps

Finland informatics visit

Business leaders and government representatives from Finland visited Southampton’s university hospitals this week to find out more about innovations in digital technology.

The group of 12 delegates, which included Christina Tolvas-Vincent, the honorary consul of Finland in Southampton, and Päivi Pihlajamäki, counsellor for economic affairs at the Embassy of Finland in London, met clinicians and members of the informatics team to share ideas and discuss future collaborations.

They visited the emergency department, acute medical unit and the Wessex Investigational Sciences Hub (WISH) laboratory at Southampton General Hospital to look at the impact of the Department of Health’s global digital exemplar (GDE) programme.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust was selected as one of the 16 digital centres of excellence in 2016 and will receive £10 million over four years to pioneer innovations in informatics with the aim of becoming a paperless organisation.

As part of the visit, staff demonstrated how the funding is being used to improve patient flow through the introduction of electronic whiteboards which display information taken directly from a patient’s electronic record, including clinical alerts such as existing medical conditions, length of admission and predicted discharge date.

The group also discovered how My medical record, a personal online health record developed by IT experts and clinicians at UHS, is being used to support treatment and care by allowing patients to access part of their health record from home.

The delegation formed part of the Team Finland initiative, a network of more than 70 local teams around the world which work to promote Finnish business, external economic relations and investment in the northern European country.

“As a part of our status as a GDE site, we are always looking to seek out international partners so that innovation and best practice can be shared and this visit enabled us to highlight some of our latest developments,” said Adrian Byrne, director of informatics at UHS.

“We were delighted to be selected as one of the few sites visited during this three-day trip to the UK and we now look forward to maintaining our relationship with our counterparts and businesses in Finland.”

Annika Saarikko, Finland’s minister of family affairs and social services, said: “Finnish know-how is world-class in digital health, personalised medicine and healthcare, as well as scientific research in areas such as cancer and brain diseases.

“We are keen to work together with the UK in finding new ways to deliver innovative and cost-effective models of care, improving patient care delivery and monitoring with digital technology. These open up many business opportunities that are guaranteed to benefit us both.”

Ms Pihlajamäki added: “We would like to thank everyone at UHS for hosting an extremely interesting visit which offered a great insight into the country’s GDE programme.”

Posted on Thursday 18 January 2018