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As MFT looks towards a more digital future, Digital Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHP) are playing a vital role in supporting and developing the organisation’s digital maturity through the Hive Electronic Patient Record (EPR) programme.

With Hive being one of the largest and most complex transformation programmes in the history of the NHS, it was recognised that a strong Digital NMAHP team was needed to provide insight and expertise whilst also acting as a bridge between Technical and Clinical teams as they collectively worked towards launch on 8th September 2022.

Led by Chief Nursing Informatics Officer (CNIO) Jacqui Cooper, the Digital NMAHP team was established in June 2021 and consists of the Head of Nursing for Digital Transformation, three Digital Nurses, two Clinical Educators, a Digital Matron, a Digital Midwife and a Digital AHP. Digital Nurse Deirbhle Breslin didn’t hesitate to apply when she heard about the roles, which were pioneering for MFT.

“Having worked at St Mary’s Hospital for five years, the opportunity to work across the whole of MFT was really attractive to me. I knew how significant Hive was going to be and I wanted to make sure that it was designed to support nursing teams; becoming a Digital Nurse gave me that opportunity.”

Playing a key role in Hive’s implementation

Whilst building the Hive EPR system, the team played a vital part in developing clinical processes, clearly communicating the needs from an NMAHP perspective to the technical teams to ensure that Hive was delivered with the end user in mind. Digital AHP Anita Castano was responsible for representing and communicating with the Trust’s AHPs.

“A lot of my role before the Hive Go Live was about bridging the gap between teams. As the main contact for AHPs across the Trust, being able to answer colleagues’ questions about Hive in a way they understood really helped to reassure them, whilst I was also able to help technical teams understand what AHPs needed from Hive.”

As the Hive lead for several Rapid Decision Groups (RDGs), Deirbhle was able to shape how Hive would look and work for clinicians, whilst making sure colleagues were kept informed.

“NMAHP involvement in the RDGs was really key. I could ensure the group prioritised changes from a clinical perspective so that they could be made before Go Live. I also lead Change Management Projects to make sure clinicians knew as much about the changes as possible and were trained before Hive went live.”

During the Hive Go Live period, the team provided expert around-the-clock support as Super Users, helping their NMAHP colleagues on the front line. The CNIO and Head of Nursing also provided leadership and governance at this time, with a particular focus on ensuring patient safety and escalating any NMAHP issues.

Looking to the future

As MFT begins to realise the benefits of Hive and digitally enabled healthcare, it is likely that we will see the Digital NMAHP team evolve and pave the way for combined digital and clinical professions across the NHS. In a highly digital world, it is important that nurses, midwives and allied health professionals have colleagues who possess specialist digital knowledge and are able to support services to embrace digital healthcare and the benefits that come with it.

Since starting in her role almost two years ago, Anita has relished every moment, and believes more staff should consider working in digital roles.

“I’ve learnt so much during my time in this role, it’s just brilliant. I’ve learnt how to build in Hive and I’ve learnt more about the IT side of the Trust. I’ve delivered training and presented in front of people, I’ve made more contacts and it’s broadened my whole awareness of MFT and AHPs. I’d definitely encourage clinical staff to consider digital roles in the future.”

Digital NMAHP roles will be central to MFT becoming an exemplar in digital healthcare, contributing to the development of professional best practice, education and research – future proofing not only our professions but the patient care we provide.