Interview Series: Justin Griffiths, Head of IT, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

Justin Griffiths, Head of IT for The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, took time out to tell HTN all about his Electronic Patient Record learnings, the trust’s agile working initiative and why staff engagement on any IT project is key.
Find out more about The Walton Centre’s current and upcoming projects, below… 
What digital projects you are currently working on at your trust? What projects are coming up in the future?
Electronic patient record (EPR) is the current big programme of work, continuing to make the trust a paper-lite environment. The big focus is our ITU right now. We’ve written a system from scratch so it will be tailor-made for the department and their needs. It will link with EPR seamlessly but, when necessary, will be able to stand alone as its own system.
Pathology at a regional level (in conjunction with Cheshire and Merseyside Health Care Partnership), working with the partnership to make sure we are a joined-up healthcare service for citizens of Cheshire and Merseyside.
Office 365 and NHS mail – integrating cloud computing and technical architecture. Giving staff the enhanced ability to share content and be more integrated into the system than ever.
Completion of the EPR project will mean a system which is optimised for Walton Centre patients. Paper records are starting to reduce, and we believe we are in the final stages of being a completely digital NHS trust, with a high level of interoperability.
What learnings have you acquired from recent projects?
Stakeholder involvement is key – having the right people around the table is important. Making sure it’s deliverable, fit for purpose and doesn’t deviate from the scope of the project. This is critical when you write your own system, adding fail-safes into the planning of projects to ensure we are on track.
We found out very quickly that those people on the frontline of healthcare need to have direct input into these projects. Involving clinical staff always gives a project life – they come up with really interesting ideas, which most of the time can be incorporated into the project and have a positive impact.
What project have you been most proud of over the past year? What has stood out as successful?
Deploying our agile working initiative has been a project I’m particularly proud of. We’ve been able to implement software and hardware for staff so that they are fully integrated into the working system, regardless of their location.
We were able to do this quickly after the first wave of the pandemic and staff rose to the occasion. We’re a fully agile trust now and because of the success of this project, we will continue to work in this way going forward.
An example of this is our pod rooms and booking systems – all staff need to do is book a pod, should they need to be on site, and either log in or dock their work laptop to the fully integrated workstation. We created the booking system for ease of use and, so far, it’s been invaluable in flexible working.
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