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The importance of collaboration

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There is no doubt that close collaboration with nurses changes IT systems for the better. 

tina hanlon

Tina Hanlon: The importance of collaboration

Tina Hanlon

The basic concept of Cambio’s digital patient flow management (PFM) system was created with the help of a doctor, IT specialist and IT director to make life easier for nurses. We then took this concept to a group of nurses. The original solution, Openward, was intended to unlock the ward from administration and release the data for re-use by others.

The nurses liked the idea, but it quickly became clear that the design just wasn’t going to work. Icons were used to represent patients, but the nurses said it would be much more effective to replicate the patient card to visually display patient information and that’s how the patient card was born. From there the very same nurses had input into the design, which helped create the way it looks today.

It has evolved immensely since those early days, and now it’s not only the nurses that use Cambio PFM. It’s been rolled out beyond the wards, helping to remove silos and bringing together all teams involved in a patient’s hospital stay, from portering to therapy, pharmacy and social care teams.

Cambio’s roots began with nurses and it is nurses who continue to drive and shape a system that matches the way they work and delivers a usable system that delivers many benefits.

The basic concept of Cambio’s digital PFM system was created with the help of a doctor, IT specialist and IT director to make life easier for nurses.

Tina Hanlon is a former nurse and is 
general manager and clinical solutions director, Cambio Healthcare Systems

For more information on Cambio PFM and how it could benefit your trust
 visit or contact 

cambio healthcare logo

cambio healthcare logo


Using technology to deliver the best nursing care

Following a roundtable last year, Claire Read learns more about how Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust encourages nurses to capitalise on technology

For many nurses, the IT team represents a faceless group located at some mysterious outpost of the organisation, only to be contacted when you cannot log onto the network. But as technology becomes part and parcel of delivering the best possible nursing care, some organisations are trying to increase familiarity between nursing and IT colleagues.

Take Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust. Here nurses have the opportunity to see members of the IT team and talk through any queries. In fact, it is a central part of the organisation’s approach to helping nurses make the most of technology. The approach is spearheaded by Helen Goodman, the trust’s chief nursing information officer (CNIO).

Dr Goodman is seconded to the role two days a week, spending the rest of her time on service improvement and – notably – on clinical practice. She knows technology is only going to help nurses if it is easy to use, and if they have the support when they need it.

“One thing I’ve really fought for is getting the IT training for nurses ward-based where possible, because there’s only so much you can do in a classroom,” says Dr Goodman.

“We now have IT training floor walking. They’ll go round on a rota, different areas each month, but they publicise it so that nurses know where they’re going to be. And I’ve also encouraged IT helpdesk to do floor walking.”

Dr Goodman sees a big part of her CNIO role as communicating with her IT colleagues; helping them to understand what a nurse’s working life is like, and what will and won’t be useful in any new electronic system. While the mission remains constant, there’s no such thing as a typical day.

“I could spend the first part on a ward, but in my CNIO role, I sit on lots of different types of committee as well. So I can be at the senior nurses’ meeting one minute and then discussing changes to the telephone system the next.”

Just as she acts as a conduit between IT and nurses, she also aims to help communication in the other direction. She tries to emphasise to colleagues that technology really can help them offer better care.

“If they say to me: ‘But I can just scribble this down on paper in two minutes’, I will say: ‘But once you have learned how to use the system it will not take long and the information is recorded electronically. And you can use that information for your audits and to share with your colleagues in other departments’.”

She continues: “I think hospitals having a CNIO-type role does make a 
difference because you’re helping your colleagues get their jobs done in a better way.”

She has no doubt that having nurses involved in the design of systems – before they even get onto the ward – makes a difference. “I think before we’ve thought: ‘Oh, it’s an IT project – we’ll let IT get on with it.’ But I think we have to be so much broader than that, and have a multidisciplinary group of people working on a project,” says Dr Goodman.

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