Interview with Mr Graham Walsh, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHSFT’s Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) and consultant in knee surgery.

‘The UK average is that patients stay for one to three days in hospital, following a knee replacement. We put BPMpathway in place to allow patients to go home on the same day.

We used BPMpro wearable technology as a way of monitoring patients in the post-operative phase.

Going into COVID, we’d finished the first phase of the BPMpathway pilot and realised how it brought in massive cost savings, it reduced the amount of therapy input we needed and also had a real improvement to patient satisfaction and outcomes, because as a patient in pain at home it’s very difficult to know how you’re doing. But this set goals for patients.

What we’re finding now is any pathway needs to reduce the amount of contact points with healthcare. Using the BPMpathway app and wearable BPMpro sensor means that physiotherapists can get much richer data.

In the post-COVID phase, we’ve now gone from about 30 per cent as day cases to about 90 per cent of patients, so we’ve had a real increase.  Patients have changed as well, patients don’t want to be in hospital. They’re embracing technology in a way to allow them to get home.

I want to get to a truly digital knee pathway – from the beginning to the end. Some of the original consultations where patients come into a joint school, that can be done virtually, or through video tutorials. Using augmented reality they could have a physio in a room with them.

I want to get to a point where patients can be managed remotely but feel as though you’re part of their care. What we found is this technology made the patient feel closer to the team. Even though they were going home early, they felt part of that team because we were in touch with them digitally.’

Mr Graham Walsh trained at the prestigious University College Medical School in London before moving back to his native Yorkshire to carry out his surgical training. He carried out both his basic and higher surgical training on the Leeds rotation, working with many of the region’s best orthopaedic trainers. His training led him to develop a strong interest in Knee Surgery and he went on to complete a fellowship in Knee Surgery in York, where he developed a specialist interest in knee solutions for young patients with arthritis.

In 2009 he was appointed a Consultant Knee Surgeon at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust with a specialist interest in Revision Knee Surgery. Mr Walsh offers all aspects of knee surgery including Knee replacement, Revision Surgery, Arthroscopy and Sports injury treatments. He also offers solutions for knee instability.

Within his NHS role he has now been appointed an Associate Medical Director where he has senior leadership responsibilities at the trust. At the BMI Huddersfield he has also been appointed the Clinical Chair where he works along side the Executive Director to help shape the future direction of the hospital.

As well as his clinical interest Mr Walsh is a strong advocate for the use of technology in healthcare seeing it as an enabler to improve patient care. He was therefore appointed to the role of the Chief Clinical Information Officer at the trust, one of the most digitally innovative in the country. This has allowed him to work to improve patient pathways and access to healthcare using technology, something which he also brings to the BMI Huddersfield. As part of the role he has developed a truly unique Digital Day Case Knee Pathway.

He has received national recognition for his work and recently has been awarded. 

  • Healthcare Transformation Awards 2019- Highly Commended for `Digital day case knee pathway.
  • Excellence in Supply Awards 2019- Shortlisted.
  • Health Tech News Award 2020- Most Promising Pilot- for Digital day case knees.
  • HSJ Awards 2020- Highly Commended for Digitising Patient Services Initiative.
  • NHS Parliamentary Awards Nomination 2020

Mr Walsh carries out over 300 primary joints a year, including partial and total, as well as around 350 arthroscopies and 40 revision knee replacements. He has some of the best patient outcome scores in the country based on Governments Patient Related Outcome Measure Scores (PROMS). The National Joint Registry data also shows that his surgical outcomes also rate among the best in the UK.