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6 healthcare IT innovations in the UK

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (Salford, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom) has always been on a mission to become the safest NHS organisation in England.  In a fast-paced industry like health care, the only way to succeed is to continuously innovate.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare IT, we’re developing creative new ways to employ technology to improve patient care. As part of Allscripts connected community of health, I’d like to share some of the initiatives we’re launching or exploring in the UK:

1.      Apply machine learning for earlier interventions – Imaging data offers new breadth and depth to our clinical understanding of a patient’s needs. We are now in a world where we can complement the interpretation of images with machine learning and AI. This for instance can alert for small fractures or bleeds that may be missed by the human eye. These exciting developments mean that the electronic patient record (EPR) can now incorporate workflows and decision support from automated interpretation of images. 

2.      Collaborate to improve usability – With the increase in educational and digital content across all fields of interest (not just health care), user experience and usability are more prominent in the UK than ever before. We’re participating in user-experience laboratories, workshops and collaborations, using venues such as The Landing  and Ziferblat, to improve the satisfaction of clinicians and citizens alike. Their feedback shows what they consider to be the most salient points in decision-making, and those are the pieces of information they need from the technology.

3.      Explore new models of patient consent – Salford Royal has extensive research programs and enables patients to enroll in studies via various means. But, if we think longer term, what if citizens had a data donor card, which gave them more options to participate in research programs and delivered results back to them? There may be tremendous benefit to patients being able to see how their anonymized data contributed to new medical learnings.

4.      Enable greater patient independence – Not only will patients appreciate greater control over their participation in research programs, they will also expect to choose the level of involvement in and contribution to their own care. Using diabetes as an example, some patients may be fairly independent and able to perform more self-care, such as collecting their own data and managing exceptions with clinicians. Others will require a more human touch, with greater involvement from a clinician. Ultimately, citizens will want to determine which blended mechanism of care delivery works best for them. This really is the dawn of personalized medicine based on the preferences and capability of the citizen to self-care.

5.      Address data storage needs – Although not an EPR issue, IT teams today are concerned about having enough space to store huge data sets. By adding imaging and genomic information to the mix, we’ve suddenly gone from storing gigabytes to petabytes. We’re finding new ways to have scalable storage spaces that are both resilient and affordable.

6.      Develop new solutions through “hack days” – We participate in events, known as “hack days” or hackathons, to quickly develop new prototypes and solutions. Whether it’s a nationwide digital Health IT event, or an event focused on mobile applications linked to our Allscripts Sunrise™ EPR, we find that these are opportunities to “lift and shift” skills from other industries and other sectors to benefit the healthcare sector.


These are just a few glimpses into the innovations on the horizon at Salford Royal. We are in the midst of a revolution in healthcare IT and look forward to sharing more about our journey.

*Editor’s Note: Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is another term for Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Electronic Health Record (EHR).

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