Creating environments for digitally enabled care
Enabling Trusts to be digitally enabled is a critical element of the NHP.
Lance McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow – one of the eight pathfinder hospitals within the NHP - said: “We’ve got to think about how the design of hospitals should change to reflect the impact and efficiencies that come from technology. It is crucial that we don’t build yesterday’s hospital for tomorrow’s technology”.
And on the New Princess Alexandra Hospital’s website it also makes specific reference to the collaboration between clinician and architect.
“Led by our clinicians and an outstanding team of architects, the design of the New Princess Alexandra Hospital will be a far cry from a traditional district hospital…a beacon for health for the whole community, set in a therapeutic landscape. An exemplar of modern architecture that will deliver the best setting for our people to deliver the best care. In short, a hospital like no other.”
Stakeholders working more closely together are enabling that to become a reality. Trusts know the challenges they face and they are turning to health technology experts for solutions.
Trusts need those involved in the creation of new hospitals to understand how technology can benefit patients, healthcare outcomes and influence clinical workflows. How virtual wards need to operate, including what space within a modern hospital needs to be flexible. They need to understand the patient journey, from the technology supporting them within the walls of a hospital to remote monitoring technology and health wearables once the patient is home.
It's a shift we at Ascom have witnessed. We’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of architects and contractors who are now keen to understand how our technology provides an end-to-end healthcare solution, how the technology integrates into wider software and medical device hardware, and how it can be scaled up and evolve. All with the aim of understanding how the technology and the built environment can work in perfect harmony for the NHS.
A unique opportunity to transform NHS infrastructure
When the NHP was first announced, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the aim was to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 and to be ‘the biggest hospital building programme in a generation’ – a unique opportunity to transform NHS infrastructure. Although it’s uncertain whether or not the target of 40 hospitals will be achieved, the learnings gained from NHP have been invaluable to the future of the UK’s health estate and NHS infrastructure.
Natalie Forrest, Senior Responsible Owner for the New Hospital Programme and previously the Chief Executive of one of the most digitally advanced hospitals in the UK, Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, said: “We are working to develop best practice guidance and standards that we will be able to use across the board, but we’re going to be learning. Those best practice guides will be dynamic and we’ll be continuing to feed them to support all the organisation with the latest intelligence on how to build a new hospital.”
The evolution of the hospital will by no means end by the NHP’s target of 2030, but neither will the new collaboration that’s been solidified between Trusts, health technology innovators, architects, manufacturers and contractors.
This article has been published on the Future Healthspaces website. Click here to view.