If you’re like me, ‘Informatics’ is a word that you had never come across before, until you found yourself on the NHS Graduates website. So, when I read about the Informatics specialism, I instantly knew it was what I wanted to do, even though I had a no idea what ‘it’ was! In reality, the expectations I had for the role vary greatly to what I do in my everyday job! So, I thought it would be helpful if I went through my projects for the hospital I currently work at, so you can gain an understanding of what an Informatics trainee may be expected to do.
At the moment, I am working on 6 separate projects, involving different groups of people.
1). I am involved in a multidisciplinary project at the Homerton Hospital, and we are currently producing Outpatient Kiosks for the Outpatients department. This kiosk will enable patients to check in without going to reception, freeing up time for receptionists to deal with urgent issues, and to ensure patient data is stored correctly.
2). I am working with a Clinical Governance Midwife to produce monthly and weekly reports for the maternity department. The reports usually consist of charts and graphs and are presented to the head of department and ward managers. An example includes producing SPC charts for different degrees of vaginal tears (Google 3rd/4th degree tears if you’re interested) that can occur during childbirth. Having the report allows the maternity department to see if new strategies and ways of working are having an influence on patient outcomes in the department.
3). I work with the e-RS team at the hospital on a forecasting tool which is used to find potential ‘Appointment Slot Issues’. Appointment Slot Issues occur when a patient is unable to book an appointment using the e-RS system. The patient’s referral is then sent or to the chosen provider so they can book the appointment for the patient. The ASIs are problematic because if staff members do not book an appointment for the patient, they can end up waiting for a long time for an appointment, sometimes exceeding the RTT (Referral to Treatment Time) goals. Issues cost the Trust twice as much to process than if the patient had been able to book an appointment on the system. The issues can also compromise patient safety, lead to confusion, loss of data, and a messy audit trail. They count for one of the hospital’s CQUINs (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation goal). The tool works by combining software called SQL with Excel, to produce a table that refreshes weekly, and shows the number of appointments that have been booked for the next few weeks for a specific service. This enables service managers to ensure they provide the correct amount of appointments online and that they are keeping up to date with their ASI worklist.
4). My newest project focuses on working alongside the Quality Improvement team to design a database that can help the team keep track of any QI projects at the Trust. This database enables the QI team to determine when they need to meet with project teams to gain updates, and whether or not the project is active or inactive.
5). I am developing an Average Income Report for a General Manager. This report is still in development, and I am working on a flagging system that will allow users to spot any inconsistencies in spending.
6). I have recently been handed a massive project to work on using software called SQL (pronounced sequel). There are two databases that we have which deal with patient referrals. The first database consists of ALL referrals, regardless of whether or not the patient has cancelled their referral or decided not to pursue treatment. The second consists of appointed referrals only. So in theory, the second list should have a smaller amount of referrals than the first, but in some months this isn’t the case. So it is my responsibility to figure out what is going wrong!
So, that’s what I’ve been up to for the past couple of weeks! I do also get some Ad-Hoc requests from colleagues in the hospital that take a few minutes to do!