The new National Children’s Hospital (NCH) and satellite centres – which will bring together the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street; Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin; and the National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght - it is the largest single infrastructure project in development in health within Ireland at present and its delivery represents a core component of the health services reform.
Due to the large size of the local catchment area (the greater Dublin area), the government has decided to establish a ‘hub and spoke model’ with the satellite centres at Tallaght and Connolly Hospitals supporting the proposed main campus at St. James Hospital.
Technology will be integral to support the ‘hub and spoke’ delivery approach in order to share patient information seamlessly across the sites ensuring efficiency and patient safety throughout the care delivery model.
The new hospital is being designed to be 'born' as a digital hospital.
The goal of a digital hospital is to deliver high-quality patient centric care in a cost-effective manner through innovative technology enablement. This encompasses Electronic Health Record systems from a clinical-patient perspective. However, it also includes many more capabilities that drive administration efficiencies, patient autonomy and improved operational management.
In the case of the development of a new children’s hospital in Ireland, the Children’s Hospital Group are also faced with a number of circumstances that drive the case for change. These include:
- A ‘digital hospital’ that is driven by the physical design – The assumption in the physical design of the hospital is that technology and automation will be deployed to all areas for use by staff, patients, parents and non-clinical services. This has had major impacts on design and how space will be utilised in the new hospital; for example reduced space for waiting areas and administrative space. Without the technology described in this business case, the hospital will not be able to operate effectively.
- Following global examples of best practice paediatric healthcare – a global shift is noticeable towards ‘digital hospitals’ as a way to interact with patients and to track, monitor and record patient data. The CHG aims to dramatically increase levels of patient care, patient autonomy and patient satisfaction through this process.
- Investing in technology to enable the sharing of information – the current paediatric hospitals have not been able to make the necessary investment in technology to automate processes and move away from paper based systems. As a result, much of the information is inaccessible and in silos. This makes it difficult to electronically share information between multiple care providers or to support patient centred care across multiple paediatric care settings.
- The current base of information and technology is low and under resourced – the CHG will consolidate the resources of three existing children’s hospitals and aims to create a single organisation that can implement and manage a world class digital health system.
- Expanding services and paediatric expertise – the new children’s hospital will be the central component of an integrated clinical healthcare system for Ireland’s children, young people and their families. Technology will enable the new children’s hospital to connect with the other centres and make sure that consistent and patient centred care is available to all young people.
Knowledge and Information Vision
Technology will be embedded in the delivery of integrated services to children, young people and their families in the new children’s hospital and the satellite centres. It will enable delivery of the right information, in the right format, in the right place, at the right time, to the right person.
Clinical information systems will provide clinicians and support staff with accurate up-to-date patient and clinical information to assist with diagnosis, treatment and care. These clinical systems will also support research and education needs in an integrated way. Technology will support the future requirements to share information across national and regional paediatric centres in line with the hub and spoke model outlined in the National Model of Care for Paediatric Services. From a business perspective, IT systems will deliver better data, decision support, financial management, business intelligence and analysis in relation to the performance and ongoing operations of the hospital. The new buildings will utilise modern infrastructure and the most appropriate user devices to deliver and support clinical care.