QI Blog: October 2021
Paediatric trainee representatives Emily and Matt share the journey of the RCPCH Informatics for Quality Committee so far and look ahead to the future of informatics in paediatrics.
Health informatics is “the science of how we collect, analyse, and use health information to improve health and healthcare”1. The RCPCH Informatics for Quality Committee was founded with the aim to support children’s health professionals to improve child health using the principles of informatics.
As healthcare systems modernise and digitise, electronic health systems and clinical data have become increasingly abundant and accessible to all of us. While some advantages are immediately visible from the ‘shop floor’, it is easy to lose sight of the transformative broader potential of such technologies. If carefully planned, data collected through these systems can ultimately support the effective organisation of healthcare resources, allow efficient audit of services as they are introduced and facilitate low-cost research. This level of efficiency is unprecedented. As health professionals, it is crucial that we recognise and harness the full potential of these technologies.
Now, our work in the Committee is more important and relevant than ever. Recent committee activities, for example, include work to improve the usability and transfer of electronic growth chart data, and consultation with sub-speciality experts to ensure paediatric diagnoses are accurately captured in digitised data sets.
This work is all conducted with the aim of ensuring that children’s health resources can be directed to where they are most needed by families, and so that children’s health professionals have access to the best information to support their clinical decision making.
As the trainee representatives on the committee, we have a specific remit to consider the ways in which our fellow trainees can engage with using clinical data to improve child health. Our priorities have been to provide teaching to trainees on the principles of informatics, and improve their access to informatics-based projects.
Beyond the Committee itself, it has been heartening to see the range of impressive, independent examples of trainee led projects that demonstrate just how valuable trainee engagement in informatics can be. NeoTRIPs (Neonatal Trainee Led Improvement and Research Projects)2 is a trainee-driven network running large scale quality improvement projects across multiple hospitals in London. The central team creates a study protocol which is shared with team members in satellite sites. Each local team collects standardised data and feeds it back centrally for analysis. Their first project looked at the management of early neonatal sepsis on the postnatal ward and allowed the authors to evaluate adherence to NICE guidelines and the potential impact of using a standardised neonatal sepsis calculator3 screening tool across multiple hospitals.
Projects like NeoTRIPs highlight that providing great care to children and young people doesn’t always have to involve night shifts and cannulas. As Paediatricians we can all aim to use informatics to improve the care we provide now, and the health outcomes for children in years to come.
Dr Emily van Blankenstein
Dr Matthew Neame
RCPCH Informatics for Quality Trainee Representatives
- E-learning for Healthcare Informatics programme: https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/health-informatics/
- RCPCH Informatics for quality committee website: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/membership/committees/informatics-quality-committee
- Faculty of Clinical Informatics early careers group: https://facultyofclinicalinformatics.org.uk/early-careers
Find out more about the use of standardised neonatal sepsis calculator screening tools in the QI Central spotlight project here.
Fridsma D B. Health Informatics: A Required Skill for 21st Century Clinicians BMJ 2018; 362 :k3043 doi:10.1136/bmj.k3043
NeoTRIPs: Neonatal Trainee-led Research and Improvement Projects London, UK 2019. Available from: https://neotrips.org/
Warren S, Garcia M, Hankins C. Impact of Neonatal Early-Onset Sepsis Calculator on Antibiotic Use within Two Tertiary Healthcare Centers. Journal of Perinatology 2017;37(4):394-97. doi: 10.1038/jp.2016.236