Hands holding digital mobile device

Ade Byrne


My vision for UHS Digital would be a hospital that thinks digital first, supporting patient safety and better outcomes. The digital experience for staff would be efficient and save time for individuals within their immediate roles, and time for their colleagues downstream, not for example having to repeat things that have previously been done. It would also mean a hospital without walls that engaged openly with patients on the Internet through provision of interactive services, and exchanged information with other health and care providers who could then provide a safer handover.

UHS was an early adopter of internet technologies for its electronic patient records when a system was built from 1999 onwards with a web browser client. This is now very old technology, even though it was an early Web 2.0 and we are very much in the world of Web 3.0 these days with the concept of intelligence and chat bots. The hospital is a leader in the world of patient on line engagement supporting many thousands of patients in the management of their condition in a true self care environment.

I spend a lot of my time looking outwards from the organization, which can be very rewarding. As an exemplar hospital for digital it is a prerequisite to demonstrate and talk about what we do. Not many hospitals have achieved so much with a moderate investment, using integration technologies rather than buying large monolithic systems that are expensive, take years to implement and can be very difficult to replace if one should so wish.

The UHS digital network

The hospital is part of a number of digital networks. Locally it is important for the acute hospitals in Hants and IOW (HIOW) to share and blueprint and ensure that we get the best value for money. Hopefully we can converge our product sets too, which will mean better information sharing and even less disruption for staff who move between. Beyond that we are a very active player in the shared care record across HIOW, called CHIE, and the exemplar project joining that up with the Dorset Care Record. There is an imaging consortium across HIOW and South Wiltshire with one of the largest single domain image sharing systems in the country, enabling instant reviews across many sites. Also the advent of pathology partnerships means that a similar thing could also be taking place there.

The UHS Digital future

In the future we plan to be at the forefront of digital pathology, scanning every microscope slide. This data is massive however, even by today’s standards with each slide requiring over 1Gb of storage, amounting to Petabytes of data per year, or Petrabytes as someone here recently said, which I somehow prefer 😊. The standards are not yet fully settled either, so this will be subject to change. And all the data, presumably will end up in the cloud at some point.

Another area is precision medicine and genomics, where we envisage the genome being used to provide a very precise and personalized approach to treatment rather than the rather broad spectrum approach traditionally where everyone who has roughly the same condition gets roughly the same thing. UHS has been involved in the early work, taking part in the 100k genomes project, and was one of few who were able to send samples to the national service with a full set of phenotypic metadata.

On a day to day basis, we intend to be a paperless organization, largely, so it’s not all about drones and hover beds. Drones….. now what could we do with those?