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What if… we could build for better patient care?

Discover how a collaborative approach to the design and construction of healthcare buildings can improve patient outcomes.

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Introduction

The Construction Innovation Hub (the Hub) has been collaborating with NHSScotland on developing a digital toolkit that will help improve the performance of Health Boards’ built assets, in such a way as to positively impact the environment and improve the patient and user experience.

Based on the Government Soft Landings (GSL) approach, the two parties have developed an Interactive Process Map to provide a framework of process for the design, build and maintenance of NHSScotland built assets from new build to repair, maintain and improve projects. This is being rolled out via NHSScotland’s own Digital Estate Group – a members group of nominated personnel from NHSScotland’s Health Boards – and implemented as part of a ground-breaking approach to digitise the Scottish Healthcare built environment at scale.

The need

NHSScotland is one of the largest property/asset owners, developers and managers within the United Kingdom. With thousands of assets in the portfolio there has been the challenge of providing consistent standards of quality across the entire portfolio. From distributed rural GP surgeries, to state-of-the-art multimillion pound hospitals in the country’s major cities, what these vastly different set-ups share in common is that they operate and achieve targets better when data around them can be used to test and monitor their performance.

For NHSScotland, as a publicly funded vital services provider, they need to ensure consistency in creating greater efficiencies, reducing waste and time spent on projects and improving long-term performance of their assets. All of these improvements help to reduce overall costs, leaving more public funds available to put towards patient care.

Providing greater clarity of operational purpose at business case and procurement stage, throughout a project’s lifecycle and into day-to-day operation is what’s vital to ensuring consistency of standards, however, with such a vast and varied portfolio to manage, it needed an innovative solution to provide that kind of oversight for NHSScotland.

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Location

Across 22 Health Boards (14 Territorial and 8 National Boards) that operate within NHSScotland

The Solution

The Hub has collaborated with NHSScotland, and its specialist Digital Estate Group, to establish a digital toolkit, in the form of an Interactive Process Map, based on the Government Soft Landings (GSL) approach. The purpose of the GSL is to encourage thinking beyond the initial design & construction phase of a project and into how a building will perform and meet the needs of its end users. In the case of NHSScotland that will include the likes of healthcare professionals, patients and estates teams.

The introduction of the Interactive Process Map has enabled NHSScotland, and its Digital Estate Group, to establish a framework providing a consistent process to briefing in design, construction and maintenance of their built assets. This framework enables the secure storage and sharing of the data associated with these assets which creates a ‘golden thread’ of information and standards that will prove useful for similar projects in the future. It allows the Digital Estate Group to learn from one another, sharing best practise and insights that ultimately benefit the rural GP surgery in the Highlands as much as the state-of-the-art hospital in Glasgow.

The GSL navigator guides users through the process, which importantly focuses on the user needs as part of the briefing. For example; the clinicians that will operate their services within the building are consulted on how the building is designed and constructed to ensure their needs are met. This level of consultation from the outset supported by digital environments helps to ensure that value-based decision making is at the heart of each brief.

Once the clinicians’ built asset needs are met, this improves their ability to assist their patients, meaning that the introduction of this digital toolkit will ultimately benefit patient care and help improve their experience also.

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Benefits

  • Cost savings of public fund;

  • Improved efficiencies and lifecycles of built assets;

  • Reduced waste and time spent on projects;

  • Improved operational performance of buildings through alignment with user needs;

  • Reduction in carbon emissions through best practise sharing;

  • Knowledge sharing and promotion of collaborative problem-solving; and

  • Consequential benefits to wider communities and societies through improved consistency of healthcare provision.

What’s next?

NHSScotland and the Digital Estate Group are continuing collaboration with the Hub whilst the framework is being rolled out in full. The next stage of this groundbreaking approach will be to monitor real-time results and outcomes, adapting and learning along the way and reporting on the findings.

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