Innovative use of technology key to improving patient outcomes

via OnMedica

image source: Phil Renaud – Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Use of technologies that enable risk stratification, early detection, appropriate intervention and remote monitoring are key to improving patient outcomes, finds a progress report of ‘vanguard’ sites published more than a year after the introduction of the programme.

The vanguard programme was developed as part of the Five Year Forward View, which aims to change the commissioning landscape and take advantage of scientific and technological advances.

The objective is for the sites to come up with creative, ambitious and innovative solutions to address health and social care needs locally, and trial them, as well as developing plans for long-term investment to improve population health and reduce pressure on services.

The progress report from NHiS Commissioning Excellence draws on the experiences of an advisory panel of eight participating sites, representing health and care provision across different settings, who shared their insights in March 2016, a year on from the formation of many vanguards.

Full report: The Role of Vanguards in the Development of New NHS Commissioning Structures. A report from NHiS Commissioning Excellence

NICE guidance: sepsis

B0006171 Streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin A1
Image shows Streptococcus pyogenes. This is a bacterial superantigen capable of causing toxic shock. Source: K R Acharya, Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

NICE has published new guidance Sepsis: recognition, diagnosis and early management (NG51). This guideline covers the recognition, diagnosis and early management of sepsis for all populations. The guideline committee identified that the key issues to be included were: recognition and early assessment, diagnostic and prognostic value of blood markers for sepsis, initial treatment, escalating care, identifying the source of infection, early monitoring, information and support for patients and carers, and training and education.

The UK Sepsis Trust will support release of the NICE Clinical Guideline on sepsis with tools and resources including screening and action tools to aid with early identification and management of sepsis in children and adults (including in pregnancy) across community-based, prehospital and acute clinical environments.

Related: NICE pathway: Sepsis

Diabetes in children and young people

Children and young people with suspected diabetes should be seen by a specialist immediately, says NICE quality standard

NICE has published a new quality standard Diabetes in children and young people (QS125).

This quality standard covers the diagnosis and management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children and young people aged under 18.

Around 26, 400 children and young people have type 1 diabetes and 500 have type 2 diabetes.  The NICE quality standard states that children and young people with suspected diabetes should be referred to immediately and seen the same day by a multidisciplinary paediatric diabetes team.

Additional links: NICE press release  |  RCGP press release

Enabling patient-centred care through information and technology

Highlights of the Kings Fund annual Digital Health and Care Congress

The 2016 Digital Health and Care Congress provided a key opportunity to explore how the better use of technology and data can support and enable the developments needed to transform outcomes for patients and citizens.

Event highlights:


Mustafa Suleyman: New ways for technology to enhance patient care

A clear road ahead

This report from The Health Foundation recommends the creation of a single, coherent and compelling quality strategy for the NHS in England.

image source: Dave Young – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A clear road ahead sets out a practical and feasible set of actions for policymakers to safeguard and improve care within current priorities, as well as support the development of the NHS for years to come. It recommends that national bodies undertake coordinated action to:

  • articulate a single set of quality goals and common definition of quality
  • provide unified national leadership for quality
  • build on experience and evidence
  • update a set of core quality metrics
  • articulate a shared understanding of how improvements in quality and costs are linked – and pursue both in tandem
  • provide unified regional leadership for quality
  • inform the future quality agenda

Download the full report: A clear road ahead Creating a coherent quality strategy for the English NHS


Staffing matters; funding counts

Workforce profile and trends in the English NHS | The Health Foundation

Staffing matters; funding counts examines the profile and features of the NHS workforce in England, including; health labour market trends; relevant international data and comparisons from other countries.

Image source:

General practice and nursing workforces in particular are examined in detail – two key components that have been the subject of much recent policy analysis and media scrutiny – as areas that continue to need a strong policy focus. There is also a supplement giving more detailed information about the profile and recent trends of the workforce of the NHS in England.

Key findings

  • Mismatches between funding and staffing levels, along with repeated reorganisation, have led to a ‘boom and bust’ approach to the NHS front line.
  • The less costly, reactive and short-term solutions – being used by national and local leaders to tackle current problems – are quick fixes, and will only put a sticking plaster on deep-seated and systemic problems for the NHS.
  • Effective use of temporary staff and international recruitment will help to buy time while a more long-term, sustainable approach is introduced.
  • Investment in current staff should not be downplayed by an over-emphasis on new roles; some new roles are necessary but will not have a major impact unless there is significantly more central support for scale up.

The report concludes that the greatest threats to the delivery of the NHS’s Five year forward view are funding constraints and workforce shortages.

Download the main report: Staffing matters; funding counts

Download the Staffing matters:  Funding counts slide pack