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Project Spotlight: Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (UK), Part 1 - Owen Williams, Chief Executive

Posted by The HCI Group on April 11, 2018 at 11:35 AM

This is Part 1 of our 3 Part Project Spotlight featuring Calderdale & Huddersfield Foundation Trust (CHFT) in the United Kingdom. The HCI Group played an instrumental role in supporting this large Cerner implementation. Part 1 features CHFT Chief Executive, Owen Williams' perspective one of the most successful EPR Implementations to date in Europe. 

Bradford Teaching Hospitals and Calderdale and Huddersfield are working together to improve healthcare across the north of England through a new joint electronic patient record. Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, told Digital Health News the deployment represented “the largest deployment of an EPR system by Cerner in Europe to date – and we have been told it has been one of the most successful”.

The following is a full transcription of the video interview with CHFT Chief Executive, Owen Williams.

What was your vision for, and your role in the EPR programme?

"Owen Williams, chief executive of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation trust.  That is an integrated organisation providing the acute care and community care in West Yorkshire.  One of the things we talk about in our Trust is about providing compassionate care and really what I saw with the electronic patient record – and not just that, the approach to digital health generally was a route map to enabling that aspiration and providing compassionate care for our local residents, and that is how I have always framed it in my mind, and I think colleagues within the Trust, so really about compassionate care for our patients really".

Can you name a factor which contributed to the success in delivering the EPR programme?

"One would be our own internal culture, and what I mean by that is even though we are an integrated organisation, we are an organisation that historically has worked across two geographies, particularly Calderdale and the Huddersfield side, and in a previous life they were two separate trusts, that came together 17 years ago.  But even though they came together 17 years ago, there is still aspects of culture that remain with the sites.  I think one of the big things that really stands out for me is the cultural journey we have made around that, and I would argue that whatever else has happened, that probably trumps most other things that I can think of".

How has the EPR programme positively impacted CHFT?

"Part of this journey is it has certainly played a role in harmonising the culture in our organisation, which is a big win for patients, because it means that things like clinical variation, things like harmonisation of processes, become more likely because people are working on the same platform.  It has also given us the opportunity I think to shed some of that competitive element with Bradford and move into more of a collaborative space".

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How has the EPR programme positively impacted CHFT?

"It is definitely not about the technology!  The lesson that you have got to understand is it is about culture.  And it is about getting a movement across your respective organisation, to see the real potential in terms of the benefits to the patient. The thing I would also talk about is getting yourself to a change ready position, and what I mean by a change ready position is if you are taking a group of people, a large group of people, who their current reality or the status quo that they know has worked to a certain extent, and then you are taking them into a future where some of the things that they do, they may feel like they are taking a step backwards.  Some of the things they do they may feel that they are taking a giant leap forwards, but you have got that thing oscillating all the time, is getting people change ready for that so where there are those successes, just kind of having a nice even keel about that, because you also know that when there are some of the downsides, you don’t want people reacting disproportionately to that, either".

CHFT set out a transformational vision at the outset of the EPR programme, how close are you?

"If you asked our clinical colleagues right now, I think the description you would get is that they can see the potential, they can see the potential of that transformation, and where it could take us but they would say that we are not there yet, but I think they also recognise that we have made quite a significant movement from where we were.  So, my honest answer today is that I think the clinical colleagues recognise that this is something quite significant in terms of patient care, not just for CHFT but potentially the wider NHS".

What is your EPR focus over the next 1 or 2 years?

"If we get to that place where I think as a trust we are an exemplar in terms of the digital health and the role it plays in patient care, I think we will do that on the duality of having a core digital health partner, but also several elements of interoperability and that is the sort of future that I would want to see as really get past the optimisation stage, and really get to that place whereby if you are new Trust and you are thinking about making this journey, you can come to an organisation like ours and you can say well this is what end could look like".

Are there key HCI strengths that you can rely on for future endevours to help achieve future goals?

"I suppose if we are looking for developments in areas which are still a little bit of unknown territory for us and this is a very very competitive world that we live in – and as the digital maturity takes place across the country more broadly, the capacity that is out there or the skill sets that are out there are in high demand, so if you are going into areas that are not common areas, being able to have a partner, whether it be HCI or others, but the question is about HCI being able to have a partner that can perhaps help provide some of that capacity to go into some of those unknown areas is helpful to know, helpful to be able to have access towards and I think what is important within that though is also HCI as Clint Eastwood said ‘a man has got to know his limitations’, and I think it is also having the openness and honesty to say actually we might not know that much either, but let’s go in it together and let’s explore"

What would you like to say to any future CHFT partners and or future HCI partners as well?

"There is a real need for us to get a move on with the digital health agenda, particularly in relation to patient care.  We are not going to be able to manage the complexity of greater co-morbidity, we are not going to be able to achieve the aims of health and social care integration unless there is a significant digital platform there that is joined up and I think what I am really hoping that – whether it is a CHFT partner, whether it is an HCI partner, is that that there is a real grasping of that particular nettle and work to be done with some of the major suppliers around this.  I will just leave this thought process – it may not make sense now, but it might make sense to somebody watching this at a point in the future.  There is a reason why Bluetooth exists, and there is a reason why the likes of Samsung, Apple, Microsoft et cetera have had regard to Bluetooth, because it is a place where systems and architecture can talk to each other.  And I think those brands who understand the significance of the Bluetooth will move forward.  Those brands who still think that they can do it all on their own and they don’t have to worry about that connectivity to others, I will just wait for them to wither and decline.  And I think the sooner that some of the vendors get with that programme and realise that there is a real competitive opportunity, as opposed to a competitive risk around some of the inter-operability piece and the connectivity piece, the better for us all and I would hope that CHFT, BTHT and also HCI will play a role in influencing that agenda".


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