Forging the Path to a Smart Hospital
Stuart MacLellan and his team are helping shape the digital transformation of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Britain’s oldest mental health trust part of the national healthcare system. The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) believes that, aside from technology, what counts most in digitalization are the people and the right environment that you create. Software AG is helping him achieve that.

When Stuart MacLellan bought his house in South London some years ago, he inherited a pond with red-and-white patterned koi fish from the previous owner. Since then, koi have become his favorite hobby. “I take care of them every day and make sure their living conditions are optimal to keep them healthy and happy,” he says. “Care means responsibility.”

This is how the 48-year-old approaches his work as well. As CTO of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, he is responsible for around 100 specialists driving connectivity and digitalization. He clearly sees the parallels with his hobby: “I am certain that digital transformation depends first and foremost on the people, the right environment, and the right conditions you create. Good will come out of that.”

The growing importance of mental health

South London and Maudsley is an integral part of the United Kingdom’s national healthcare system. With more than 5,000 members of staff, the trust offers a wide range of mental health and substance misuse services.

Describing the current challenges, MacLellan says, “South London and Maudsley’s work and research have always been relevant, but through the pandemic, now more so than ever before.”

For these reasons, it is clear to the CTO that digital technologies are key to becoming more efficient, which allows clinical staff to focus on patients and provide quality care and treatment.

To achieve that, MacLellan and his team employ Software AG products. Bethlem Royal Hospital is the first hospital in Great Britain to have a private 5G-supported cloud. This makes it possible to fully leverage the potential of Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT with a wide range of applications. One study, for example, is examining how virtual reality can enhance the treatment of patients with eating disorders to encourage positive behavioral changes or alleviate anxiety in specific situations. IoT technology is also useful for monitoring refrigerators remotely to ensure medication is stored at optimal temperatures and maximize shelf life.

“I am certain that digital transformation depends first and foremost on the people.”

Stuart MacLellan
Chief Technology Officer 
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Clarity, transparency, and equity

As part of another digital project, South London and Maudsley introduced a new blood test for the use of antipsychotics that shortens the average turnaround time for results from 10 days to just six minutes. Thanks to the new test, medical staff can make fast yet clinically based decisions about a course of treatment and include the patient from the start. “According to estimates, the new procedure could potentially reduce the length of a hospital stay from three months to just three weeks,” adds MacLellan.

But technology isn’t everything to the CTO. Corporate and leadership cultures are just as important. When it comes to digitalization, MacLellan believes that South London and Maudsley’s overarching goals must be communicated clearly and transparently to all employees to empower them to meet their sub-goals independently. “Of course we aren’t always successful, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. But we are seeing great progress,” he says. “Digital transformation isn’t an abstract concept. Our digital services have a real and positive impact on the lives of many people and patients.”

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