Salford Royal Hospital

Please describe Salford Royal’s Digital Control Centre (DCC) how it came about?

Launched last year, the ‘Digital Control Centre’ is a 10-year project which is being delivered by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group in partnership with Japanese technology company, Hitachi. The new tailored design aims to advance acute and integrated care using data and digital technologies at Salford Royal – a Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) - and to our knowledge is a world-first in terms of linking operational and clinical demands by embedding new technologies linked to change and improvement in working behaviours.


How will the NHS benefit from this new digital platform?

The NHS has been challenged to make efficiency changes and once developed the result with be an ‘intelligent system’ that reduces pressures caused by staffing challenges and frees up beds, operating theatres and equipment. The first phase of the project, focused on urgent care, will introduce patient insights and flow management tools to provide staff with real-time information relating to attendance and admission history; key clinical indicators from patient history; admission risk; and individualised patient risk assessments. Clinicians will be able to use this information to assign patients to the correct care pathways.

Currently, many NHS departments work in silos and so the real scale of the challenge is about creating visibility and a simultaneous understanding of the different organsiational pressures and what this means for our patients. It’s about bringing to life everything that is going on at an operational level and using technology to promote best practice and behaviour change.


Salford Royal is a national leader for the deployment of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) within the NHS. How will the Digital Control Centre use this longstanding and mature set of clinical data?

The DCC will link clinical information within the existing EHR with operational data leading to performance insights which will not only assist staff with demand and capacity planning, but which will also optimise care delivery and enable us to become a more advanced learning healthcare system. The tools that Hitachi can bring can help us gain a deeper understanding of the variation in care. For example, if a patient has pneumonia, the data and technology could enable us to compare care plans and outcomes between specialist and general wards to understand how to reduced unwarranted variation in care to help us improve patient experience and deliver the best outcomes.

It can take up to 15 years before clinical research and science comes into practice but with the DCC we will be able to rapidly generate and disseminate knowledge, measure the impact of change and scenario plan for the future. 


How has COVID impacted the build of the new platform?

With COVID, all hospitals are required to zone patients adding a layer of complexity to the design and build of the DCC. However, this has also meant we are now creating an even more solid foundation to build upon in the future.


Can the new technology be used across other UK-wide NHS hospitals?

The DCC could only be designed and built here in Greater Manchester at Salford Royal due to its high performance, digital maturity, and culture of improvement science, but yes, this is absolutely being designed to ‘lift and shift’ to enable the optimisation of healthcare, nationally. However, a level of digital maturity is a pre-requisite and hospitals definitely need to have an ‘innovation’ mindset!


Have you collaborated with the broader Manchester community for this project?

Yes, we are integrating with care homes and are working closely with Salford University. There is much more value in extending this outside the hospital and leveraging Greater Manchester’s talent and community of innovators. 


Is there an opportunity for companies to invest in the DCC and be part of its evolution?

Absolutely. We are engineering the DCC to ensure it is future proof and has the capability to ‘plug-in’ additional technologies. At Salford Royal we have the perfect environment to rapidly adopt, test and deploy new ideas and we welcome companies who want to showcase their ideas and products to enhance this new platform.


What in your opinion is the most exciting thing about the DCC?

For me, the most exciting part of this project is the opportunity for us to really understand what the NHS needs in order to use data and technology effectively to support patients and staff. We hope to be able to help to define what Control Centre principles can mean for other NHS organisations and influence how we build, share and analyse data.


Get in Touch

To learn more about the Digital Control Centre or find out how MIDAS can help your digital health business thrive in Manchester, get in touch with our Life Science Specialist, Catherine Davidson. You can also keep up-to-date with us via Twitter and LinkedIn.

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