Birmingham Community Healthcare

The COVID-19 Service Mobilisation – Staying safe and making the best use of resources

Navigating a Challenging Landscape

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) provides over 100 community and specialist services across Birmingham and the West Midlands. As a large NHS Trust, the challenges facing BCHC during the COVID-19 pandemic have been wide-ranging, with more than 4,500 members of staff delivering well over 100 clinical services in a wide range of community settings throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands.

BCHC needed to measure and manage the virus’ impact on its services, to allow them to mobilise and galvanise resources to meet the increased demand in the most effective way possible.

Managing logistics in a crisis

In response, BCHC developed a Trust-wide system of eForms and dashboards that allow Executive and Management teams to track and visualise capacity across the organisation using a combination of NDL Digitise eForms and existing dashboard solutions.

The Trust had to quickly assess and respond to the dynamic and fast-changing landscape created by the pandemic, ensuring the system remained available and useable. As the outbreak progressed the needs of the Trust evolved, eventually leading a system comprising of the following elements:

  • Staff infections: Employees who have been exposed to, diagnosed with, or are at risk of COVID-19 can be tracked by their managers. If they or their family members have been diagnosed, or if quarantine is required, managers can track their progress and indicate their status. Managers are also automatically emailed when an employee is due to return to work, or if their status would otherwise change.
  • Redeployment: Parts of the Trust that require additional support during times of staff shortage or increased demand can post ‘jobs’ to a central job board for a team of coordinators to deploy staff from other parts of the organisation to.
  • Stock Report: Departments can track and log their stock levels, ensuring PPE, cleaning services, and clinical resources can be monitored throughout the outbreak.
  • Recovery plans: Services can make regular measurements of their recovery progress across 20 key points of operational readiness. Sections for comments and a role-based permission model ensure that key updates are always available to those that need to see them most.
  • Staff Risk assessments: Staff can request for a workplace risk assessment from their manager, with automated email alerts informing on when assessments are due. This has been supplemented with staff demographic information (from ESR) to provide a picture of the impacts on different groups within the organisation.
  • Dashboards and Monitoring: This is where the data gathered is processed and visualised. The Executive and Management teams can view the information that has been abstracted into easily digestible, visual indicators. Armed with this information, managers can quickly plan and allocate resources to the greatest point of need.

Staying ahead of the curve

COVID-19 Contingency Planning Hub has been key in the Trust’s efforts to manage the pandemic locally, keeping their staff safe and ensuring they have the equipment they need.

The dashboard has been the most used system by manag-ers across the organisation. To date, there have been over 15,000 web form submissions, 330 items of data and over 43,000 dashboard views since the outbreak began.

It is estimated that the new technology has saved NHS team time by 20% during the pandemic, liberating information for better decision making and quicker action, equating to a saving of approximately £200,000 of public money and thousands of hours across the organisation.

"Without access to centralised information, the challenge of responding to the pandemic would have been much harder. Those challenges continue to exist and evolve and having the right tech-nology in place is crucial to making decisions quickly and based on accurate data. We were able to develop new solutions rapidly using code light development tools hosted on a scalable, virtual infrastructure. As a result, we’ve been able to achieve significant time savings that have enabled the team to focus on delivering the best patient care, instead of chasing missing information"

Steve Pollard, Head of Information and Business Intelligence, Birmingham Community Healthcare

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“The toolset has provided much needed analytical insight quickly and demonstrated the speed of turnaround from concept to moving to a live environment. Our users were able to enter data into the NDL Digitise eForms with little training and any issues that arose were quickly rectified”

Alan Collinge, Business Intelligence and Information Services Manager