Digital Child Health and Digital Maternity
Strategic digitisation of Personal Health Records where women, children and families can interact with their information and with service providers
NHS England (NHSE) wants to enable and empower women/pregnant persons, children and families to take the lead in their maternity or health journey.
Accordingly, delivery of Digital Child Health and Maternity (DCHM) solutions ensures that information relating to the relevant health pathway is captured electronically, shared with service providers and those who have an active interest in the data (e.g., midwives, GPs, clinicians, social care, safeguarding services), and (in the case of maternity) put in the hands of the mother.
Earlier digitisation attempts had failed to deliver the required outcomes. A programmatic approach was needed to instil confidence with federated stakeholders, given DCHM’s significant ministerial and public interest.
NHSE engaged Olive Jar as its delivery partner to digitally transform maternity, children and young peoples’ services, with an initial focus on DCHM Discovery and Alpha.
The first step was to establish a baseline. We assessed, reconciled and rationalised c.2500 uncatalogued historic documents, giving context to earlier programmes’ research findings and agreeing DCHM’s start point. We identified immediate priorities, overarching themes and problem statements, enabling the development of 10 initial work packages.
Next was exploring the landscape and options for digitising maternity/child health pathways. We:
Mapped and built service blueprints for core journeys (woman/pregnant person; child to age 5), alternative scenarios (e.g. miscarriage, safeguarding), and all touchpoints with health professionals, systems and processes.
Identified and investigated gaps, opportunities and key areas to focus research (e.g., there was nothing on pre-conception or child health beyond age 5).
Conducted a Digital Maturity Assessment of NHS’ readiness, capabilities and infrastructure. Where NHSE had preconceived ideas of what DHCM should achieve, but where these weren’t addressing all users' and stakeholders’ needs, Olive Jar delivered associated collateral to support NHSE in establishing a national baseline for digital maternity, children and young people’s services. The subsequent information then to be used to build plans to level up the service, establishing priorities and focus areas.
Conducted extensive user and stakeholder research to validate findings. This included collaborating with clinicians across multiple NHS organisations for journey mapping, then rationalising these into process maps, and testing and course-correcting ongoing.
Olive Jar provided digital leadership throughout, including filling the NHS-side shortfall to lead programmes. This included a Product Owner, User Researchers, Business and Data Analysts, Enterprise and Service Architects providing architectural leadership and accountability for the overarching solution, and a Delivery Manager who also provided guidance and Agile coaching sessions to build capability within NHSE.
Olive Jar has delivered on all work packages.
At a recent governance review of strategic digital NHS programmes, DCHM was recognised as having the most maturely documented and usable pathways to facilitate further transformative work. The service blueprints and process maps Olive Jar created are now used extensively across other NHS programmes and additional workstreams identified from Olive Jar’s findings (e.g., Early Warning Scores for maternity, neonatal, midwifery, paediatric and child health pathways), providing improved patient safety and the standards for all Trusts to build rapid access tools for frontline healthcare professionals.