A BLACKPOOL therapist has scooped a major award for her use of technology to improve patient care and outcomes.
Speech and Language Therapist, Veronica Southern, has been honoured by the North West Skills Development Network for her outstanding work in cutting across traditional boundaries with the use of IT leading to better patient care, better patient experience and improved efficiencies in her organisation.
From a shortlist of five, Veronica, who is Clinical Lead in Telesolutions at Blackpool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, won the Clinician in Informatics 2016 Award at the Network’s conference held at Blackpool’s De Vere Village Hotel last week.
The award is given to a clinician who has excelled in the use of technology within their organisation or health economy.
Veronica said she was thrilled to receive the award and the recognition it brings to the work she is doing to encourage healthcare workers to evolve and modernise their practices using technology.
Veronica designed, developed and delivered, with the help of Trust IT technicians and her Speech and Language Therapy colleagues, the Teleswallowing approach.
Teleswallowing is an innovative use of telemedicine allowing a therapist, using a tablet, laptop or computer, to remotely, rapidly and accurately, assess a patient’s ability to swallow without the need for face-to-face assessment.
“Swallowing difficulties can cause pneumonia, malnutrition and poor rehabilitation. Delays in the identification, assessment and management of the condition can cause the deterioration of a patient’s health and possible hospital admission which could have been avoided if it had been assessed and managed earlier.” Veronica explained.
She added: “Our patients can use their phones, tablets and even their watches now to access goods and services. We need to be ready to deliver our healthcare services, where appropriate, using technology.”
Earlier this year Veronica and her IT colleagues also won one of NHS England’s Challenge Prizes for their innovative technology ideas in a bid entitled “The Workplace of the Future: It’s not where you go, but what you do.”
The bid was to enable clinicians to deliver services via video conferencing and the use of apps allowing healthcare professionals to remotely share knowledge and experience rather than having to travel to attend meetings and training.
Judges at the North West Skills Development Network described Veronica as not only having clearly demonstrated the vision but also having had the ability to share that vision with colleagues and make it a reality.
“With the use of technology, Veronica developed a solution that directly improved patient care and experience and enhanced her organisation which has been recognised as highly commended nationally,” they added.
The North West Skills Development Network (NWSDN) provides an innovative learning and development infrastructure which enables and supports continuing development of all finance, informatics, procurement and associated staff in the NHS across the North West.
The Connect conference is held every year in September for Health Informatics Leaders providing an insight into the latest topics around Informatics from key NHS and industry professionals.