Unlock a Flexible Pool of Doctors – Digitalising Internal Locum Banks
What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?
There is growing pressure for Trusts to meet workforce challenges and address the rising cost of engaging doctors via locum agencies. NI Health Trusts spending on locum doctors has increased by 43% since 2016 – with last year costing almost £100m.
Digitising our online process for securing internal medical cover and launching an app will give the service greater visibility and allow us to connect doctors to locum work in our Trust without agencies. Private organisations have spotted this gap and are rapidly designing new digital products. These are expensive with some charging £15 for every shift filled. Southern Trust filled >10,000 shifts last year so that would have been a 150K charge, driving vital funds away from patient care.
Our idea connects strongly to the theme to use digital tools to improve management real time data and enable vacant shifts to be filled efficiently, faster- supporting safe care.
What does your project aim to achieve?
Our aim is to digitise our entire locum process for managing our flexible medical workforce. A mobile app will make it easier for our doctors to book into vacant shifts and ensure our wards are safely staffed. We hope fully digital processes will achieve:
· Enhanced patient care by facilitating more locum shifts to be filled, more often and more efficiently. This will also help reduce stress amongst staff.
– Improved visibility for service and clinical managers with real time insights of all locum shift bookings
· App for doctors booking and cancelling shifts
· Improved fill rates for shifts via our internal medical bank as opposed to agency
· Widened pool of available workforce with an increase in doctors joining a fully digital HSC elocum platform
· Improved governance and improved patient safety
· Savings for the health service in terms of less external locum agency usage
How will the project be delivered?
Specifically the Southern Trust would like to upgrade our existing eLocum platform by re-engaging our software developer to ensure our end to end process is fully digitised to meet the needs of the service and doctors have mobile access to view and book shifts via an App. Additional funding will allow the SHSCT to commission 6-9 months to complete the necessary software design and build. We would also plan to use part of the funding to engage junior doctors in a co design approach as key stakeholders. We plan to engage Junior Doctors in a Clinical Fellow Project using dedicated time to ensure it will meet their needs and the needs of the service to improve medical cover throughout the SHSCT and improve patient safety.
How is your project going to share learning?
We will measure the impact of our project robustly with quantitative and qualitative means which can be disseminated widely to regional NI HR and Medical Director Forums. We intend the software to be fully HSC owned so it can be extended for use to other staff groups and NI Trusts with no additional cost. Having wide stakeholder involvement will allow us to test and document our learning throughout the project with the aim of sharing this learning to other potential adopters. We will write our project into a Case Study for presenting and sharing at local, regional and national HSC/NHS/HSE forums.
How you can contribute
- We would really value your comments, suggestions and views on our project? Critique is always welcome
- What are the perspectives / stakeholders do you think we need to consider in this project?
- Are there any interested individuals with good ideas, project management skills or digital technology knowledge willing to join the project?
|4 Sep 2022||Engagement with stakeholders, junior doctors and internal HSC Software Developer|
|1 Nov 2022||Design of New Software including updates and reviews|
|1 Nov 2022||Walking through with internal software developer to upgrade existing platform|
|1 Dec 2022||Development of New Guidance Process/Protocol and Marketing materials|
|1 May 2023||Testing of new system build and app build|
|1 Jun 2023||Feedback and Refinement of new system build|
|3 Jul 2023||Implementation and roll out of new system app|
|1 Sep 2023||Evaluation Phase and Review Sustain and Spread|