Digital Industries Ambassadors Apply Technology to Healthcare

Published Monday 9 July 2018 in Sheffield

Better Learners Better Workers Digital Industries Ambassadors visited Hallamshire Hospital’s Innovation Hub in June to see how technology is transforming healthcare.

The organisation employs 16,000 staff on 5 hospital sites across Sheffield, Chesterfield, Barnsley and Doncaster, with 22 smaller healthcare facilities.

The visit allowed the group to explore the future potential of technology in healthcare alongside the challenges it poses for the NHS.

Ambassadors met with Andy Vernon, Director of Informatics at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, who explained how technology impacts on every aspect of healthcare – from swipe cards for secure door access to equipment for performing clinical tests or surgeries, patient information systems or patients monitoring their own healthcare via apps on smartphones.

The group discovered that the main challenge was the complexity of the technology. There are a varied and complicated mixture of technologies involved, and patients and staff of all ages pose challenges due to mixed levels of understanding.

Technological equipment also needs to be kept up to date, making sure that the infrastructure is working properly and that networks are secure, especially following the WannaCry ransomware attack last year. There are also challenges with funding, including obtaining the best deals and responding to numerous government targets.

Ambassadors then took part in a visit to the Pharmacy, where they met Avril Cherry, Antimicrobial Pharmacist, to discuss electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA), followed by a session with Jane Horsfield who works in dispensaries. The group enjoyed a tour of the department and a full demonstration of the pharmacy robot.

Andy Vernon led a Cyber Security Workshop based on a real-life scenario that took place at the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles. The hospital fell victim to a ransomware attack and made headlines when they paid a $17000 ransom to resolve the issue. Ambassadors worked together to provide ideas on what steps a hospital might take to find out what kind of attack has been carried out, how to stop any further loss of information and how to retrieve data.

The visit concluded with a discussion around the wide range of careers available in healthcare technology. Andy Vernon and his PA Jude Lewis answered questions from the group and described their career paths into their current posts. Ambassadors learnt that the routes to jobs are often indirect and that there are many ways into the NHS and healthcare technology sector.

Better Learners Better Workers