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News

February 2020: Workflow Planning & Benchmarking Tool Created for Healthcare Firm

Blueberry has created a workflow-planning and benchmarking tool for a healthcare consulting firm to improve quality of care, provide better governance and the ability for multidisciplinary teams to work across boundaries to provide a better workforce to respond the needs of their populations.

 

The health care sector faces a conflict between safe staffing and the (government) directive to be cost efficient. In a time of clinical staff shortages, increasing demand for services and financial austerity there is a need for a consistent approach to workforce analysis, benchmarking and planning across the health and social care sector to enable informed decision making across finance, HR and nursing management.

 

Creative Lighthouse wanted to create a workforce planning and benchmarking solution in response to frustration at the focus on financially led decisions in health and social care management that did not consider the safety and care of patients or staff.

 

Reviewing Blueberry on the Clutch website, Director of Creative Lighthouse, Eve Mitchell, said: “We identified Blueberry through a combination of recommendation and a number of meetings to make sure the team really understood what we wanted to achieve, and they provided us with a dedicated project manager and development team to ensure we could work together to deliver the end product we were looking for.

 

“We provided them with a spreadsheet and rough specification – they took our ideas and worked with us to come up with a thorough specification with consideration of technical issues we hadn’t even considered.

 

“We may well be experts in workforce planning and safe staffing – but not in software development! Blueberry guided us through the process, gave a clear project plan and we met weekly to update and ensure we were on track.

 

“The first phase of development gave us a product we could present to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for which we received endorsement in April 2017, and also allowed us to apply for and be awarded a grant for Innovate UK to develop our product further to include benchmarking and cross-sector workforce planning.”

 

The key to the success of Creative Lighthouse has been the development and delivery of Establishment Genie, which has become their our core product and given access to multiple sectors across health and social care, with the impact of improved quality of care, better governance and the ability for multidisciplinary teams to work across boundaries to provide a better workforce to respond the needs of their populations.

September 2018: Co-op Acquires Dimec

The company for which Blueberry developed a healthcare pharmacy app for repeat prescriptions has been acquired by the Co-op in a multi-million pound deal. The Co-op is hoping the purchase will help it to grow into a digital competitor within the £10.5 billion pharmacy market.

 

Dimec, which facilitates the ordering of repeat prescriptions by linking up patients with GP surgeries and pharmacies via an app, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum in the first takeover by Co-op’s Ventures division.

 

Dimec, founded by pharmacists Chris Turner and Andrew Bailey in 2013, also syncs medical records and prescription information to ensure that patients are taking their medicines properly.

 

It sends alerts directly to GP surgeries and a network of 12,000 UK pharmacies when a patient is running low on medicines. The app-based platform is supported by the NHS.

 

The Co-op is hoping the purchase will help it to grow into a digital competitor within the £10.5billion pharmacy market, which is seeing a boom in repeat prescriptions thanks to an ageing population.

 

The digital pharmacy arm is part of a new Co-op offering in addition to the mutual’s large network of physical stores and services including groceries, funerals, insurance, legal and an online electrical store.

 

Tim Davies, Director of Co-op Ventures, said: “The acquisition of Dimec allows us to accelerate the development of our healthcare proposition, and provides the technology required to ensure customers can interact with their NHS GP more conveniently.”

 

The deal will create a number of digital, operational and clinical roles based in Manchester and Merseyside and will see co-founder Turner and Bailey, move into the Co-op Ventures team.

May 2017: Blueberry Builds Healthcare Tool That’s Been Endorsed By NICE

Blueberry has built a tool for Creative Lighthouse which helps carry out advance planning of nurse staffing levels in hospitals and has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The ‘Establishment Genie’ tool allows senior nurses to input and review planned care levels provided by nurses and healthcare assistants compared to the budget available.

 
It also allows them to review information including skill mix, the context a ward is typically operating within – such as its number of admissions, average fill rates for nurse shifts and its number of vacancies – and how much annual leave and maternity cover will be required.
 
In addition, planned staffing levels for different wards can be compared with one another at three different points in a 24-hour period.
 
Patient outcomes, such as the number of falls and pressure ulcers associated with certain staffing levels, can also be reviewed alongside potential changes to the workforce model.
 
The Establishment Genie (EG) system:
 
  1. Allows hospital staff to enter details about bed utilisation and staffing for their ward. They are led through a user-friendly 15-step process for capturing all the required information.
  2. Uses this data to produce a very detailed 21 page report covering ward staffing levels and budgets. This report calculates a number of key performance indicators that are used within the NHS for comparison and benchmarking.
  3. Provides a way for a hospital trust to benchmark across all wards using a combination of 400 different metrics. This results in a detailed report containing graphs for each metric combination, along with a narrative explaining what each means.
In an interview with Nursing Times, Richard Cooper, co-founder of Creative Lighthouse, said: “Nurses need to have really good information to counter some quite strong pressure on them to, perhaps, make cuts to staffing or see where they can make savings.
 
“We wanted to give something to nurses to help them hold the line in those difficult discussions, which complements their professional judgement,” he told Nursing Times.
 
Eve Mitchell, fellow co-founder of Creative Lighthouse, said: “Our tool has come into its own as people are looking at service redesign and how they might staff new areas or where they are looking at completely new areas of staffing.
 
“For example, we see a lot of intermediate or medically-fit-for-discharge wards that are very much nurse-led, and with many healthcare assistants, that come up with all sorts of ways for working that fit in with new demands.
 
“So they can use this tool to put in the number of beds, how they are configured and used, and it will estimate the level of whole-time equivalent staffing required,” she added.
 
You can read more on the Establishment Genie system by visiting Nursing Times.
 

June 2016: Free Assistive Technology App For People Living With Dementia

Blueberry has developed a free assistive technology application (app) for tablet computers that makes life easier for people living with dementia.

 

Called ‘Remind’, the app allows carers who live away from a person with dementia (or other memory loss conditions) to send automated prompts to a tablet located in the person’s home.

 

The carer simply types messages they want to display to the patient on the message screen from their account using any computer, tablet or mobile device.

 

There is a choice to send the message prompts immediately, or schedule them for certain times of the day, as well as set up recurring messages.

 

Anyone can freely use Remind simply by setting up a user account via the app’s website at http://www.remind-app.co.uk. There is no charge for using Remind.

 

Blueberry spearheads a new wave of I.T. provider

The scrapping of the over-ambitious I.T. National Project for the NHS heralded a new era in Information Technology for NHS Trusts – where hospitals can choose their own systems.

 

At the time of the scrapping, the I.T. National Project had already ratcheted up a cost to taxpayers of over £12 billion, and had generally under-delivered amidst contractual disputes between the government and suppliers.

 

The problem was that the I.T. National Project was too complex and not sufficiently agile to keep pace with fast changing technology.

 

As a result of the decision to scrap the project, many hospitals, primary care trusts and specialist health providers have been left with I.T. requirements which now urgently need to be fulfilled.

 

It was recognised when the I.T. National Project started back in 2002 that the NHS was years behind the private sector (and even other parts of the public sector) in making use of I.T. to achieve much-need efficiency gains and cost savings.

 

Clinicians and administrators want deliverable I.T. systems that simply work and help them fulfil their workloads and targets. Ironically, the smaller, more agile technology providers that are best suited to delivering tangible results have up to now been unable to bring their products or expertise to the health service, except by sub-contracting to one of the principle suppliers. The reasons why it’s been difficult for the niche software and systems provider include a combination of squeezed costs, procurement burden and onerous technical standards.

 

Despite this, Blueberry has been working with its health sector customer base over recent years to cut through bureaucratic red tape and provide reliable solutions at the point of healthcare delivery.

Blueberry Managing Director, Martin Green, said: “We’ve worked closely with innovative private sector companies as well as forward thinking NHS Trusts to build up a strong capability in the NHS sector.

 

“We’ve also developed a number of excellent products – such as our BIMS in-patient system – and are currently developing an Electronic Patient Records system, which will fill the gap in the market left by the scrapping of the anticipated national system.”

 

With the I.T. National Project now dead, there is a real need for NHS I.T. providers who are unencumbered by a history of under-delivery into the sector, and can demonstrate a track record of delivering systems on time and budget.

 

As procurement restrictions are lifted and the NHS marketplace opens up to smaller and specialist providers, there is at last a real opportunity for Trusts to explore innovative solutions that work for them locally, tailored to the specific requirements of the local healthcare delivery.

 

One lesson amongst many from the failed programme is that “one size does not fit all” in the complex world of NHS information management.

 

The popular size now is “small”.

David Lee, Blueberry Health

“Now that the patient management system has been operational for some time at the Lister and QEII hospitals, the benefits are really starting to emerge. In fact, the staff who originally resisted the system now threaten death if it goes offline!"
Teri-ann Grange I.T. Projects Manager East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

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