A cloud-based audit platform is helping staff at ten NHS trusts to streamline their auditing processes through one simple and easy-to-use system, saving time and money – and ultimately leading to improvements in care.
AMaT, which stands for Audit Management and Tracking, acts as a single repository for all audits, providing real-time dashboards to display all activity within a trust. The system was developed by Lancashire-based Meantime IT in partnership with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Innovation Agency has introduced Meantime to three other trusts in the North West Coast, one of which has already adopted AMaT.
All NHS trusts carry out audits as part of their daily activities. These might be clinical audits or quality improvement projects; ward and area audits, such as hand hygiene or safe medications; or, long-term data collection activities such as service evaluations. Despite audit being an integral part of daily life for any trust and a vital component in the monitoring of patient care, this activity has for the most part been tracked in an ad hoc manner across the NHS, using spreadsheets, project management software and other ‘home-grown’ solutions.
All too often, for all of the auditing work that takes place on a daily basis, vital steps are missing: collating the data, tracking action planning and making it available so that it can be analysed and utilised to the trust’s, and the patients’, advantage.
AMaT is a cloud-based solution providing a single system for all of a trust’s audit activity. It enables clinicians to record and evidence their participation in audit while dashboards provide overarching views of activity and analysis tools allow users to drill down into the underlying data.
Fenner Pearson of Meantime IT approached the Innovation Agency after developing the AMaT tool at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals. He had no previous experience of commercialising a product and marketing it to the NHS.
He attended Innovation Agency Digital Ecosystem events at which local businesses are given the opportunity to showcase their products to NHS clinicians and managers, and to learn how to overcome the barriers and challenges in dealing with the NHS as a supplier.
Within 12 months of use, all audit processes at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals were entirely online. With AMaT, a series of online forms make the creation and validation of clinical audits simple and quick. More time can be spent carrying out the actions that have been recommended, supported by automated reminders to those responsible for implementing improvement actions. This is helping to increase the number of audits being carried out at the trust.
In the first year after using AMaT, there were 467 audit and quality improvement projects registered in the trust, compared to around 350 before the solution was introduced. There was an increase of 250 per cent in completed actions over the first 18 months of use, leading directly to improvements within the trust.
Clinical Audit and Effectiveness Manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Alison Leather said: “There was nothing on the market that did everything that we wanted it to do – for example, ward audits and NICE compliance statements. We worked with Meantime and they developed a solution that best meets our needs.
“Now, if we wanted to focus on a pathway such as COPD, you can use an audit to get real insight into what is happening in that area.”
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust’s Head of Outcomes and Assurance Deborah Kershaw said: “With AMaT, we have a system to capture what activity is taking place, one that gives people ownership and puts names against actions, and one that provides visibility of how projects are progressing and who has completed what.”