Maternity Transformation Programme (MTP): Harnessing Digital Technology

Digital tools can help transform care for women and their families in maternity services. This film shows what the NHS is doing to support the maternity service in England to use these tools to provide personal and safe care.

Better Births, recognised the important role that digital technology can play in transforming maternity services and made several recommendations on how it should be harnessed including:

  • investing in electronic, interoperable maternity records to reduce the administrative burden of information recording and sharing;
  • providing all women with access to comprehensive digital sources of information via a digital tool or personal health record (PHR);
  • a digital tool or personal health record that interfaces with professionally held electronic maternity records so that the woman can access their records and receive personalised information;
  • the technological solutions must be accessible to women, families and professionals, particularly outside of the hospital setting

Workstream 7 of the Maternity Transformation Programme (MTP) is working to implement this vision. NHS Digital is running 4 digital maternity projects, within the Harnessing Digital Technology workstream, to help NHS England meet its objective of improving outcomes in maternity services in England.

1. Maternity Digital Maturity Assessment (DMA)

The National Maternity DMA report provides a rich, national picture of digital maturity in England. The report is supplemented by 44 Local Maternity System (LMS) reports, which provide bespoke recommendations to each LMS. The reports are designed to be used together and aim to equip maternity providers with insight and resources to aid local planning for the investment and adoption of digital technologies.

All maternity providers in England responded to the assessment during April-June 2018, which was used to measure the challenges facing each maternity service in implementing digital technologies. For more background on the project,see the NHS Digital website.

2. Interoperable Maternity Records

The first phase of this project is to create a professionally agreed standard for maternity records. This will enable all maternity clinical systems to consistently capture information and ‘speak the same language’.

The second phase is ensuring the information can be shared securely so that everyone involved in the woman’s maternity care, including women themselves, will have access to a standardised set of paperless, digital maternity records.

The third phase interoperability development, which will allow maternity record information sharing between local maternity systems, professionals and with women. This will ensure the electronic maternity records are accessible at the point of care. It will support continuity of care and safer care for women and their babies. Electronic maternity records that can be shared will reduce the amount of paper used across the service.

3. Women’s Digital Care Record

In January 2018, Simon Stevens (NHS England Chief Executive) undertook a deep dive review of the potential activities associated with the ambition to provide women with access to their electronic maternity record. This supports the need to give women better understanding and control of her care, and an opportunity to contribute.

A new priority and expectation was given for NHS Digital and NHS England to progress with the implementation of electronic personal records for women, as a demonstrator for wider citizen enablement.

An electronic personal health record (ePHR) is a digital space that enables people to take greater control of their health and care by accessing a range of information.

We aim to provide as many women as possible with the choice to access their electronic maternity record and benefit from the improvements it brings.

4. A Digital Toolset

We aim to improve personalisation and choice for women by offering access to unbiased, evidence based and locally specific information. This includes information about people’s circumstances, choices available and their own personal care plans.

We are working with the NHS.uk team to update the content, structure, presentation and site navigation of the NHS.uk Maternity pages following feedback received from pregnant women.

Further information

For more information please visit the Digital Maternity Programme page.

If you have any queries or comments, please contact the Digital Maternity team at digitalmaternity@nhs.net.