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OUH accredited as an NHS Global Digital Exemplar

This article is more than one year old.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) has been recognised as a leading digital Trust after receiving accreditation from NHS England and Improvement as part of its Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme.

The GDE accreditation means OUH is now an internationally recognised NHS provider that delivers improvements in the quality of care through providing staff, patients, and partners world-class digital tools and information.

Dr Paul Altmann, Chief Clinical Information Officer at OUH, said: "Our vision as a participant of the GDE programme was to use digital technology to deliver excellent care to patients and families, while providing staff with tools that could make the way they work smoother and safer.

"Adopting a more digital approach has helped us support services by improving productivity and safety, enabling staff to deliver compassionate excellence as best as they can in our hospitals.

"We are delighted to receive this GDE accreditation which puts OUH among the best for using digital innovation that has genuine benefit for people we care for in Oxfordshire and beyond."

Driving real benefits

OUH started its journey to GDE certification in 2017, and since then has introduced a host of clinical-led digital improvements through more than 30 projects and thousands of individual service-led optimisations that enhance patient care and support staff.

Through the adoption and development of the EPR (Electronic Patient Record), the Trust has made good progress in the journey to paperless working. The EPR provides information and workflows immediately accessible by health teams anywhere, and at any time. It enables staff to provide safer and quicker care and a better experience in an appropriate setting, including the patient's own home, while reducing the risks of memory-based care.

An average month sees 183,000 appointments placed; 2.9 million clinical records opened; 566,000 medications administered; 583,000 clinical notes and plans ordered and signed; and 30,000 diagnoses created via EPR each month.

The introduction of ground-breaking technologies to create a more joined-up approach to healthcare has been a key part of the programme.

For example, the use of ePrescribing Medications Administration (ePMA) means acute clinicians can remotely consult patients and prescribe treatment to help support patients in community and virtual wards as well as those being cared for in their home, which in turn reduces prescription delays and transcription errors through instant communications to primary and community care.

In 2020/2021, there were 150,000 virtual consultations, managed on the Attend Anywhere platform, which was rolled out in two weeks, enabling care to continue where appropriate during the pandemic from Trust and remote locations.

During the programme, in 2020 the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford was rated highly for its use of technology to improve patient care as it was accredited at HIMSS Stage 6, and plans are in place for the hospital to advance to Stage 7.

OUH also implemented the Cerner Patient Portal and partnered with Apple to provide patients a simple and secure way to access medical data through Health Records on iPhone.

Other digital-based improvements include:

  • Digital blood transfusion with decision support, reducing unnecessary use of blood products
  • Integrated vital signs early warning application
  • Medicines prescribing decision support and robotic pharmacy dispensing
  • Safer medicines administration through patient wristband barcode and drug package barcode scanning
  • Prompts and alerts to improve the management of critical aspects of care including the reduction of antibiotic over-use and antibiotic resistance, with care planning suggestions
  • Improved patient flow through real-time bed state updates
  • Single sign on to systems.


OUH started on the journey to GDE accreditation with the aim to accelerate benefits from digital development across all Trust hospital sites and with social and healthcare partners. Learning will be put to good use as the Trust continues the acceleration of digital innovation for quality care in the future.

And now, nearly five years on, OUH has now received a GDE accreditation, which was formally presented virtually over MS Teams by Dermot Ryan, Director of Frontline Digitalisation, Transformation Directorate, from NHS England and Improvement to the team earlier this month.

David Walliker, Chief Digital and Partnership Officer at the Trust, said: "What we have achieved in terms of digitalisation of care over the last five years, and specifically during the pandemic, has been remarkable.

"I am so proud of the Digital team. All the improvements have transformed the way we deliver care and collaborate with each other and, even in such a challenging time, have had a powerful and positive impact on and empowering staff and patients.

"In line with the OUH Strategy for 2020-2025 and our policy of  'Digital by Default', we will continue to harness digital technologies to further improve patient care, the safety and effectiveness of our services, and sustainability for the future."

Dermot Ryan, Director of Frontline Digitisation at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: "Oxford University Hospitals are demonstrating the real-world benefits of digitally enabled care and through the GDE programme the trust has accelerated its digital transformation journey.

"Building on strong foundations, including the electronic patient record system and decision support systems, the digital team is providing staff with the right tools to do their jobs, and giving patients better and safer care."

Pictured: Members of the OUH Digital team