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Welcome to the Innovation & Improvement online newsfeed. Here you’ll find all the latest research, news stories, policy updates and guidelines. View our other newsfeeds for more subject-specific news.

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Digital Technology and health

Patient Carers and Service User Vision | National Information Board | Department of Health

This policy paper examines how changes in digital technology can be used to improve patient, carer and service user experiences of health services. The document will allow people to understand why and how changes are being introduced and to see whether the planned improvements are really happening.

New collaborative to support the physical health of people with a mental illness

Equally Well: A new collaborative to support the physical health of people with a mental illness | via Centre for Mental Health

In October 2016, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges published the report ‘Improving the physical health of adults with severe mental illness: essential actions’  The report outlined the changes that were needed to make a sustained impact on the physical health of people living with a mental illness. It highlighted that coordinated national effort would be needed to bring good practice to scale and support further innovation and improvement across the country.

Equally Well  is an initiative from New Zealand which seeks to promote and support such collaborative action to improve physical health among people with a mental illness.

Now in the UK, the Centre for Mental Health, Kaleidoscope and Rethink Mental Illness are working together with support from the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to create an Equally Well collaborative in this country.

Dementia assessment and improvement framework

An evidence-based framework to support and enable directors of nursing and medical directors to achieve ‘outstanding’ care standards for those living with dementia during their stay in hospital | NHS Improvement

This framework has eight standards, and draws on learning from organisations that have achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission. The document integrates policy guidance and best practice with opinion from patients and carers.

Engaging staff to drive quality improvement

NHS Employers has published Making it better: staff engagement for quality improvement. This case study highlights work that the Sheffield Teaching Hospital has undertaken on staff engagement as part of its programme of quality improvement, such as the collaborative development of the Sheffield Microsystems Coaching Academy, Listening into Action groups and the creation of trust values. The case study also highlights the benefits the organisation has seen as part of its ‘Making it Better’ transformation programme.

New £15 million grant scheme to improve mental healthcare

The Beyond Places of Safety fund will focus on improving urgent mental healthcare in local areas | Department of Health 

The Department of Health has launched a £15 million fund to better support people at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme aims to improve support services for those needing urgent and emergency mental healthcare. This includes conditions such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders that could cause people to be a risk to themselves or others.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme will focus on:

  • preventing people from reaching crisis point in the first place
  • helping to develop new approaches to support people who experience a mental health crisis

Full story at Department of Health

Electronic Prescription Service saves NHS £130 million over three years

The transformative electronic prescription service (EPS) has managed to save the NHS £130 million over three years | NHS Digital

By allowing GP surgeries to send prescriptions directly to pharmacies, the EPS system, which has been developed by NHS Digital, has helped to save patients time and money when collecting their medications.

An audit of patients using the system found that 72 per cent said their medicines were ready and waiting for them when they arrived at their pharmacy, with the average prescription collection around 20 minutes quicker under the EPS system.

Over the past three years the system has saved patients almost £75 million and has meant patients need to make fewer return trips to pharmacies as a result of their medications being out of stock.

The time savings that EPS offers the average GP practice, allows staff to have more time to care for patients, particularly during the winter months when there is more demand for their services.

Additionally with more people falling ill over the winter period, EPS can help patients get their medication quickly and reduce the need for pharmacists to ring the GP about prescription queries.

The biggest savings were recorded by prescribers who saved around £327 million between 2013 and 2016, while dispensers saved nearly £60 million.

GP practices on average also saved an hour and 20 minutes each day by signing electronic repeat prescriptions compared to paper versions and an average of an hour and 13 minute a day by producing electronic repeat prescriptions compared to paper ones.

Other time savings for prescribers include:

  • Practices save an average of 43 minutes per day by not having to locate paper prescriptions within the practice.
  • Practices save an average of 31 minutes every day by not having to re-print lost paper prescriptions.
  • Practice staff save an average of 39 minutes every day by not having to wait for GPs to sign urgent paper prescriptions.
  • Practices save an average of 27 minutes every day by cancelling prescriptions electronically versus paper.

Full story at NHS Digital