Students at Kingston University have taken part in a hackathon to help the NHS improve patient record systems.
Two hundred of the university’s nursing, computer science, digital media and mathematics students joined health professionals and technology specialists in a nine-hour event to design new AI tools for patient records.
The teams tested robotic process automation as a time-saving tool for busy ward staff. The participants considered tricky issues of governance, legal and policy issues, as well as technical design and user experience (UX).
The winning team designed an analytical app that provides automated messages to patients and their families, offering real-time updates on scans, consultant visits and medical progress.
Another winning suggestion was an app that would link updates from electrocardiogram (ECG) machines to doctors’ phones, eliminating wasteful printouts.
The NHS has struggled for a long time working across multiple platforms that don’t talk to each other. RPA can go a long way to solve this issue by using back-end admin bots
– Neil Goodman, NHS
Neil Goodman, a consultant leading digital transformation at the NHS North East London commissioning support unit, who participated in the event, said optimising systems was a major challenge in healthcare.
“The NHS has struggled for a long time working across multiple platforms that don’t talk to each other. RPA can go a long way to solve this issue by using back-end admin bots that access multiple systems when granted the right user permissions. It means they can collect data from different systems and present it in a single-view user interface,” he said.
Dr Martha Mador, head of enterprise education at Kingston University, said the Kingston University was delighted to be working on the challenge. “Our students are all keen to develop and test their understanding of the problem and deliver insights into potential solutions. We are proud to be working with both public and private organisations to help solve key challenges of the day,” she said.
At the start of the new year, health secretary Matt Hancock announced a £40m fund to develop a single sign-on system to cut NHS staff login times. Currently, ward staff could be expected to log in to as many 15 systems in a shift, a situation Hancock described as “frankly ridiculous”.