Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust wins Digital Innovation Team of the Year at BMJ awards

Mustafa Khanbhai and Erik Mayer BMJ award winners

A multi-disciplinary team from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT) has been recognised for their innovative approach to improving patient care through technology, with an award from the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The team won the Digital Innovation Team of the Year for creating an algorithm to analyse the free text comments made by patients responding to the ‘Friends and Family Test’, created by the NHS to provide feedback so that they can identify where improvements can be made. ICHT receives 20,000 patient comments a month through the Friends and Family Test. This feedback provides a rich source of information, but the volume is so great that it cannot be matched with the human resources needed to read through them all, categorise them, and use them for quality improvement.

Consultant surgeon Mr Erik Mayer, clinical research fellow Mustafa Khanbhai, head of patient experience Stephanie Harrison-White, Dr Bob Klaber and the Quality Improvement Team, Kelsey Flott and the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC), and patient Dave Manton, developed the algorithm so that data from the Friends and Family Test could be analysed and acted upon much more quickly. They trained it using 6,000 patient comments that had been manually categorised and used the coded dataset to test the algorithm. They also created a dashboard to enable front-line staff to interact with the data. The dashboard displays patterns in patient feedback over time, from which staff can drill down to access the patient’s original narrative.

Mr Mayer, BRC Surgery & Technology Theme investigator, who led this project, said: “We are really excited to have received this award as we believe the software will benefit our quality improvement work across the Trust. Patient feedback data can now be processed in near real-time and the dashboard can be accessed from any computer in the Trust. We are using the dashboard to track how patient comments are changing over time in response to changes in delivery of care.”

The algorithm was developed on open source National Language Processing software and the team is currently assessing how it can be used by other trusts. This project is an excellent example of patient-centred collaborative research between the NIHR Imperial BRC and PSTRC, which funded this work, together with Health Foundation.

You can read more about the BMJ and awards here, and see latest analysis results from the Friends and Family Test here.

Image and article are © Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust