A Chief Allied Health Professional Information Officer from Kettering General Hospital has won a national award for the way she supported virtual visiting for the families of patients during the pandemic.
Anna Awoliyi has won the “Digital Champion” section of the BAME Health and Care Awards 2021 for the way she implemented a system that enabled patients to have booked ‘virtual’ visits from their relatives using hospital computer tablets.
The BAME Health and Care Awards recognise the contribution and achievements of staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and more than 100 individuals and teams from health services across the country were shortlisted for the awards.
Anna said: “I’m so happy to see the impact that this is having on the patients in our care. In a time of Covid this has made a huge difference with their families that are in our care.
“As an organisation, we take a family-centred approach to care. This ensures patients wellbeing is looked after.”
During the pandemic we have been restricting visiting to our hospital to protect both our patients and our staff. Note a partial lifting of visiting restrictions has been announced today (Friday, April 30 – see our website www.kgh.nhs.uk for details)
Virtual visiting is an electronic system for patients to speak to loved ones through video communication through a tablet.
Anna said: “We provide tablet for the patient, which is held on a stand. This means that the patient doesn’t need to hold the device for long periods.
“We looked at the figures around use of the tablets and we found that patients would spend on average 53 minutes on the tablets. This is a long time to hold device. The stands reduce the strain for the patient and have increased take up of this scheme.”
Anna and the team continued to improve and develop on the initial software that had been developed. They introduced new features such as a re-book feature, which saves ward staff time from inputting family details for each visit.
Alongside a button that tells staff when a call has been completed. This enables ward staff to differentiate between patients who have had a virtual and those who have not.
Anna said she would like to thank Director of Nursing and Quality, Leanne Hackshall, Group Chief Executive, Simon Weldon, Deputy Director of Nursing, Diane Postle (Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality), Andy Callow (Group Chief Digital Information Officer), Ian Roddis (Digital Director), Jo Dilley (Interim Deputy Director of Nursing & Quality) and Vigi Arun (Nursing and Quality Transformation Programme Lead) for their support and belief in her.
Ian Roddis (Digital Director) said: “We are very proud and inspired by all of the work that Anna has done on the Virtual Visiting project. Anna has been fundamental in Virtual Visiting being delivered and developed - and it was her passion and enthusiasm that helped get this embedded on the wards at the height of the COVID pandemic.
“This is a great example of how a digital solution can help to aid and support our patients and their families during these difficult times.”
On the night of the virtual awards - the reason Anna’s win was described as:
"The judges thought they were a clear and outstanding winner for the work they were doing; they were a visionary in this field.
“The winner was instrumental in leading the implementation of virtual visiting – providing one on one video calls for patients in the hospital. Therefore the benefits of this go far beyond the COVID pandemic. It removed barriers and gave the ability of visiting at the touch of a button."
The National BAME Health & Care Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of BAME staff and support networks from across the health and care fields in making significant improvements in career development support for BAME staff.
This includes exceptional initiatives and leadership, and the improvement of services, or access to services for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
One in five nurses, more than one in three doctors and one in six of all NHS staff are from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.