Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust has been announced the winner of the ‘Improving Value in the Care of Frail Older Patients’ award. The award, announced at the HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards 2017, acknowledges the work the team at Bradford have done to develop a ‘virtual ward’.

The innovative and ambitious project began in 2012 as a discharge-to-assess model, relying from the outset on working together across organisational boundaries of health and social care teams.  The aim of the virtual ward hub development is to offer a single point of assessment, to offer a range of ‘wrap around’ support at home and to ensure that the frail older person gets the right service at the right time.

The whole team use SystmOne to monitor caseloads, bed capacity and clinical tasks. SystmOne’s mobile working solution enables home visits and managing a ‘board round’ meeting every day to discuss patients who have been seen.

Andrea Allanach, Lead Advanced Nurse practitioner, Bradford Teaching Hospitals, said “There is absolutely no way we’d have been able to achieve what we have without the shared record in place”. Andrea and her team are now looking forward to electronically sharing data with the social care team, which she says will “help massively as there’s such an overlap in the services we provide” and bringing the mental health service into the loop when they make the move to SystmOne in 2018.

The virtual wards development has meant that multiple hospital admissions have been entirely prevented, and length of stay in hospital further reduced. Bradford Teaching Hospitals is now in the top 5% of trusts across the country for shortest length of stay. It has also demonstrated significant improvements in patient quality of life and high rates of patient satisfaction.

The virtual ward has also brought about significant cost savings, with £1.85 million saved compared to the previous year. Judges said it was an excellent example of a highly functioning integrated health and social care service.