Creating a hospital of the future: a hospital without walls
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, one of the world’s leading paediatric healthcare institutions, has launched a digital platform that is set to revolutionise the way in which patient care is delivered to children and young people.
The hybrid health platform AlderHey@nywhere is being championed as a “hospital of the future”, where patient and clinical care is delivered in a hybrid world, both physical and virtual, to create a “hospital without walls”. The interactive and immersive digital platform provides a hybrid point of access and patient care for families, children, young people and clinicians to manage, treat, educate and coordinate delivery of their healthcare. Most importantly, it will focus on preventative healthcare and will make patient care more accessible and personalised.
The technology was developed by Alder Hey Innovation in collaboration with Microsoft and Mindwave as a solution to addressing the finite capacity of hospital and community resources, including both physical space and workforce. This was also paired with an increased demand of accident and emergency admissions, long waiting times for outpatient appointments, and increasing lengths of stay.
Alder Hey has a dedicated innovation centre within the hospital and campus, focused on using cutting-edge technologies and innovations to solve the real-world, day-to-day problems faced by children and young people.
Alder Hey Innovation believes that by leveraging innovative health tech, digital platforms, data and AI, it can revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered to children and young people. It seeks to break down the traditional barriers for patients when accessing care and personal health information, as well as when receiving therapies and seeking education, creating a future of healthcare that is a “hospital without walls” with the focus of care being the individual, taking a more personalised and tailored approach.
Commenting on the launch of the new digital health platform, Managing Director of Alder Hey Innovation, Claire Liddy, said: “At the moment, healthcare is most often about treating people that are ill. What we want to do is to shift to a more preventative model of care that is individualised and tailored and that empowers children and young people to take ownership of their healthcare and treatment. There are so many different technologies out there now, including wearable technology and devices such as smartwatches that enable you to monitor your health at home. What we needed was a hybrid platform to bring it all together into one place so that families, children and young people could access it, alongside their clinicians at the hospital.
“We think the AlderHey@nywhere platform will allow us to elevate the level and access to care for children and young people who tell us that they want to be empowered to understand and manage their own healthcare and treatment. It also allows us to move to a more preventative healthcare modelling, making healthcare more individual and personalised.”
AlderHey@nywhere is a co-development with Microsoft and tech SME Mindwave. The collaboration came together to co-create a hybrid healthcare platform that will create a way of delivering healthcare for children and young people that is far more tailored to the individual, giving them better life chances.
Claire Liddy added: “The Innovation Centre at Alder Hey Children’s hospital is a really special and unique place. It’s a dedicated team, all focussed on bringing new technology into healthcare for the benefit of children and young people. We work with a wide range of private sector partners, including tech giants, SMEs, entrepreneurs and universities, to co-invent new technologies and innovations. We have a different mindset and culture of innovation; we are able to move fast and think big, which allows our innovation path to accelerate much faster than the traditional pathways. We are able to fuse healthcare and tech innovation with industry. This fusion brings something special and unique, creating faster-paced technologies.”
AlderHey@nywhere provides a unique digital platform that is designed with children young people and their families in mind, making it visually aesthetic, engaging and immersive, but also intuitive. At the same time, its dual purpose is engineered for clinicians to monitor, assess and optimise data and clinical workflow in the management and delivery of patient care.
Mindwave – which has previously worked with Alder Hey to develop other tech platforms, including AlderPlay and mental health platform CYP As One – have been the lead developers on the visual interface of the portal, as well as the interconnectivity and operability of data.
Founder and CEO, Kumar Jacob, said: “It has been a privilege to work with Alder Hey Innovation Centre and Microsoft to be responsible for the design and development of the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of AlderHey@nywhere™. Our role has been to ensure that the portal is visually appealing and immersive, making sure the experience that young people, children and their families have is engaging, enjoyable, simple-to-use and easy-to-understand. At the same time, we want the complicated data and AI to flow seamlessly to ensure that the data flow of information is interoperable and sent across multiple devices, making the experience seamless, functional and easy for clinicians to use.”
AlderHey@nywhere™ enables the interoperability of multiple systems using FHIR, remote devices and resources for management of acute and chronic conditions. Furthermore, it collates a new unique data set for longer-term, AI-augmented decision-making for preventative intervention, personalised care and long-term disease prevention.
Umang Patel, Chief Clinical Information Officer at Microsoft, also offers a unique perspective thanks to his dual role at Microsoft and as a paediatrician working in the NHS at Frimley Park Hospital.
"It's been a real privilege to work with Alder Hey to develop the AlderHey @nywhere™ platform," he says. "Microsoft always loves projects that gets its staff excited - to be given the opportunity to help children and young people - was one such project. Hopefully we have been able to bring some new insights, skills and innovations that will help Alder Hey not only solve problems locally but scale beyond the Liverpool region. What they have done at Alder Hey is great for many reasons, but two stand out: first, the Alder Hey team has managed to keep it simple. If you ask 100 doctors what they want in an ideal system, they will tell you a million important things. The team has managed to scale that back, kept it usable, and brought the most important things to the front. Second, is the momentum they have generated- it's trailblazing innovation at its best.”
AlderHey@nywhere was based around a model of prevention and intervention. The digital health platform allows for:
- A true hybrid of both physical and virtual patient care
- Remote real-time monitoring of patient care for intervention
- Creating a platform of care that is tailored and self-managed
- Digital Bio-markers and IoMT for preventive real time augmented clinical decision making
- Children and young people want to be empowered to engaged interactively with gamification to understand and manage their care