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Welsh Ambulance Service publishes new Digital Strategy

THE Welsh Ambulance Service has set out how it will embrace technology in the future in an ambitious new digital strategy.

Recent advances by the service include the rollout of iPads to frontline staff, the move to modern ‘cloud’ services through Microsoft Office 365 and a new electronic patient care record.

The Trust’s new strategy details its plans to drive future change through four ambitious ‘digital missions’ – empower the digital patient, build the digital workplace, intelligence through data and digital foundations.

Andy Haywood, Director of Digital Services, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service has undergone significant transformation in the last couple of years and is today celebrated as one of the most innovative of its kind internationally in the clinical and operational space.

“Every aspect of our service is supported by technology, whether that’s our Emergency Medical Service, Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, Clinical Contact Centres and beyond.

“This strategy recognises the fact that change is coming no matter what, and gives us all the guidance to accept that change effectively and use it to positively transform what we do.

“Embracing technology and data is fundamental to enhancing our services, makes things easier for our staff and most importantly, improves the patient’s experience.”

Also among the recent innovations has been the adoption of what3words, technology which allows emergency services to pinpoint a person’s precise location in a time-critical situation.

In May, the service introduced Consultant Connect, an app which enables paramedics to speak to specialists in seconds for support and decision-making if a patient has complex needs.

Through the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trust has also been hosting virtual Board meetings, and has even launched a podcast for staff.

Moving forward, the Trust will introduce an electronic patient clinical record, which will herald the move from paper-based patient data collection, as well as upgrade the computer-aided dispatch system for its Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, enabling it to schedule journeys more efficiently.

As part of the continued rollout of 111, the service which brings together NHS Direct Wales and GP Out-of-Hours services, it will also introduce a new system for managing patient information, making it easier for 111 colleagues to document patient encounters and share information with colleagues elsewhere in NHS Wales.

Chief Executive Jason Killens said: “Andy’s appointment in January as Director of Digital Services was the first of its kind for our ambulance service, and this strategy is testament to just how committed we are to using digital technology to enhance our services.

“We’ve had long-held ambitions in the digital arena, and the Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for some of this work, which has been a silver lining through a really tough period.

“Now it’s about building on this work and making things even more streamlined for our staff, volunteers and most importantly, our patients.”